In today’s world where violence and conflicts are a daily news story we consume with our morning chai and humanity is tested everyday, Rakshabandhan has evolved to become a festival of forging new bonds and expanding our sense of community.
The tradition of Rakshabandhan dates back to Vedic times when it was a ritual to worship sages for their dedication to knowledge. It appears in important Hindu texts as well - mainly as a sacred thread tied by a priest on a warrior’s wrist for protection.
From there it evolved to become a celebratory festival, to keep married women tied to their ancestral homes. In rural India, once married women moved out of their hometowns, this ritual with their brothers became a way for them to return to their homes every year.
While the practice is still largely prevalent in rural Northern India, urban practices around Rakshabandhan have changed significantly. The day is about sisters being pampered by their brothers with gifts, mouth watering mithais, and a whole lot of love. However, it’s not just a day for food, gifts, and photos. What was once about the protection of and by a brother has become a way to signify and honour a familial bond of love - may it be with brothers, sisters, close friends, or even much loved pets.
Expanding from its traditional definition of brothers and sisters, Rakshabandhan has become a festival for everyone. Two sisters tying rakhis to each other, a single child tying a rakhi to their dog who protects day and night, two friends tying rakhis to each other as they crossover from friendship to a familial bond, two people from different religions tying rakhis to each other - the possibilities are endless!
The idea is to not keep the tradition secluded to relationships between brothers and sisters as a bond of unconditional love and protection can be between any two people, really - and we are all here for it! The increasingly urban and nuclear family dynamics have made the Raksha Bandhan tradition even more inclusive as it encourages these bonds to be forged even outside of immediate family.
A celebration of playful love - Rakshabandhan signifies a bond that is unadulterated, innocent, and one that we often nurture out of choice. Promising unconditional love and protection to someone who is family, or someone who is made family - is all that the festival is about. And mithais, of course. This year, make the bond sweeter and stronger with Hetal's Homemade.