Celebrating the Bond Among Siblings in the Festival of Raksha Bhandan

Last weekend I had my cousins over for dinner to celebrate the Indian festival of Raksha Bhandhan.  Raksha Bhandan celebrates the bond that exists between brothers and sisters and is observed every year in August. The relationship between siblings is a very special one and this unique bond is celebrated during Raksha Bhandan. It is a day when siblings pray for each other’s well-being and happiness. Though traditionally Raksha Bhandan is observed mostly in Northern and Northwestern parts of India and in Nepal; this festival of sibling love has spread to other parts of India today.

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My brother Kiran and his three sisters

Meaning of Raksha Bandhan

The two words in Raksha Bhandan in Sanskrit mean “Raksha” which stands for protection and “Bandhan” which signifies the verb – to tie. Raksha Bhandan translates to “the tie or knot of protection“.   In essence the festival of Raksha Bhandan symbolizes the eternal love of brother-sister relationship, which can also include the relationships between relatives or cousins, among sister-in-laws, and other such familial relationships. In some cases, even friends who think of each other as siblings observe Raksha Bhandan.

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Celebrating Raksha Bhandan with the cousins
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Celebrating Raksha Bhandan with our friend Radhika

Raksha Bhandan is observed with the tying of the Rakhi

On the day of Raksha Bhandan siblings, especially brothers and sisters, celebrate by tying a thread or a knot (similar to a frienship bracelet) around her brother’s wrist, symbolically expressing her love for him and seeking his protection in return. The brother in return offers gifts and promises to protect his sister from any harm.

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Last year when my sisters and brother and our families met for a holiday in Maui in August, we celebrated Raksha Bhandan with locally made Hawaiian bracelets.

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These days, our family has decided to make an addendum to the festival of Raksha Bhandan by celebrating the love and support that sisters can given each other as well. We started a new tradition of tying the Rakhi among sisters – with the premise that sisters can protect and always love each other.

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In today’s world when siblings are spread out all over the country or live in different parts of the world, Raksha Bhandan is still observed by many families  –  every August Rakhis are mailed to siblings all over the world.  When the brother receives the Rakhi he will ask someone to tie the Rakhi on the day of Raksha Bhandan. Hitesh has been receiving a Rakhi every year in the mail all the way from Kenya from his cousin Muni. She has been mailing Hitesh a Rakhi for over 30 years!

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Relationships are the essence of any family festivity and that holds true for Raksha Bhandan which is at it’s core a celebration of family togetherness. Here is a look at this year’s Raksha Bhandan celebration with my cousins Nando, Mahesh and their families.

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Rakshabandan 2018. Celebrating with the cousins.

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A few family pictures before tying the Rakhi.

The lighting was perfect at sunset for a few lovely pics.

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Time to tie the Rakhi on my cousin Nando.

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A Rakhi for my cousin Mahesh.

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 Rakhis for sisters too.

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Rakshabandan Dinner

This year I decided to make an Italian-themed Raksha Bandan dinner. When I told my cousins what the cuisine was this year yy cousin Nando requested I make eggplant parmesan. I had never made this before and this dinner seemed like the perfect festive gathering to give it a try.  Here is a look at our vegetairan Italian dinner for the evening.

Raksha Bhandan Italian Dinner Menu

Appetizers:
Rani’s goat cheese and apple on cracker
Warm pull-apart cheesy bread – Uma
Dinner:
Eggplant Parmesan
Asparagus, Leeks, Zucchini and Kale Pasta
Salad – Meera
Bruschetta
Garlic Bread
Dessert:
Gourmet cookies and Gelato

Getting ready for dinner. Prepping the appetizers.

Dinner is ready!

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Let’s Eat!

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A simple dessert of gourmet cookies and gelato.

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A toast to a fun evening celebrating brothers, sisters, cousins and family  💛💙❤️💚

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Ending the night with relaxing conversation and a board game.

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Happy Raksha Bhandan!

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For more information on Raksha Bhandancheck out these articles I referenced.  Celebrating the Rakhi Festival   The meaning of Raksha Bhandan  What is Rakhi  Why do we celebrate Raksha Bhandan?

22 thoughts on “Celebrating the Bond Among Siblings in the Festival of Raksha Bhandan”

  1. Totally enjoyed reading about this Amazing piece of history!! Thank you, Kalpana, for sharing your celebration of this very special and meaningful tradition! Definitely very touching and uplifting.😁 I vote for the whole world to observe and celebrate Raksha Bandan!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rose, so happy to know you enjoyed reading about Raksha Bhandan. You and I have to exchange Rakhis next year since we are like sisters 😘. I concur, the whole world should celebrate Raksha Bhandan! 💙❤️

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  2. Kalpana, this is so beautiful…. it actually made me dearly reminiscent of India!!! I visited a few years ago and since I was young I have always been drawn to the culture. I love your beautiful saris, the meaning, the love and celebration of family, and the food of course. This post really touched me! I have been meaning to blog about my trip to India since I began my blog.. I need to do that one day soon! Thank you for sharing. Your posts always bring the biggest smile to my face and you inspire me to have a zest for life every day!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very nice pictures..  great writing, makes you relive those moments.  we’ll look back at this years from now and think it just happened yesterday.  thank you!

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      1. Hi Dolly, We’re very glad you liked the gifts.  Some background on it… It is Delft ware/pottery, a classic pottery made in the Netherlands, no surprise it is made in a town called Delft.  We visited the Royal Delft Factory, (The Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles) and it is the only remaining factory of the 32 earthenware factories that were established in Delft during the 17th century.  “Delft Blue” is specific color available/used by many painters, Sree might have come across it. 
         
        We totally enjoyed the evening at your place.  The variety in appetizers, dinner, deserts etc. was just right.  The eggplant parmesan was perfect; that it was a healthy version of dish made it even more enjoyable.  Thank you again for the special evening.  Have a nice day!

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  4. Kalpana, this is so beautiful…. it actually made me dearly reminiscent of India!!! I visited a few years ago and since I was young I have always been drawn to the culture. I love your beautiful saris, the meaning, the love and celebration of family, and the food of course. This post really touched me! I have been meaning to blog about my trip to India since I began my blog.. I need to do that one day soon! Thank you for sharing. Your posts always bring the biggest smile to my face and you inspire me to have a zest for life every day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mackenzie for such a lovely comment! ❤️😘 It really touches my heart to know that you enjoy reading my blog and that it brings a smile to your face – truly this is the best compliment anyone can give! Thank YOU for being such a kind and wonderful person!!!! I would love to read your blog on your experience in India and look forward to it. Have a wonderful weekend Mackenzie and thank you for making my day start off with a smile 😊❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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