Today is Raksha Bandhan! This is an Indian, primarily Hindu, tradition or festival but many people of Indian origin celebrate it as well-all over the world-and including in our home. It consists of sisters tying a holy thread (rakhi) about their brother’s wrists and the brother passing on a gift to her. Sweets are enjoyed by all and it is a festive family day. The rakhi symbolizes a sister’s well wishes for her brother and it is his reminder to protect her. Most men will never cut it off as that can be considered bad luck but wait for it to fall off naturally. More info at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raksha_Bandhan
All through my youth I can remember my father’s sisters coming over to tie a rakhi about my father’s wrist. My mother made sure my sisters and I did the same to our brother and male cousins. Letters would even come from India with special bracelets or threads enclosed from my father’s female cousins. Now that my sisters and I are older, we still take time to observe this festival even if it is just a hastily tied string bracelet sometime during the week of the special day. My mother always provides the Indian sweets but this year I decided to also contribute a western sweet: a red velvet cake! I enjoy making one somewhat difficult cake each year. Last year it was the Italian Cream Cake (read about that here) and this year I dusted off the baking pans and got to work. I must say, the cake is a success.
I really enjoy this tradition and hope to pass it down to my future children even though they will be biracial or bi-ethnic or bi-cultural or whatever since I am not sure my husband and I are actually different races. Anyways, when I was a child the threads were quite simple but over the years they have gotten fancier and fancier. Just have a look at some of these pics!
The tradition also connects, supposedly, to Alexander the Great. I cut and paste this interesting tidbit from the above mentioned Wiki link:
According to one legendary narrative, when Alexander the Great invaded India in 326 BCE, Roxana (or Roshanak, his wife) sent a sacred thread to Porus, asking him not to harm her husband in battle. In accordance with tradition, Porus, a Katoch king, gave full respect to the rakhi. On the battlefield, when Porus was about to deliver a final blow to Alexander, he saw the rakhi on his own wrist and restrained himself from attacking Alexander personally.
Anyways, a Happy Raksha Bandhan to all! I know, at least in our house, siblings fight a lot but may we all take a minute and remember the special bond we share… at least today for tomorrow the bickering begins. Ha ha ha.