Want to celebrate fabulous festivals while you intern in New Delhi? The if i could… programme is proud to have Cape Town and New Delhi as our fabulous internship destinations! If you want an extra special experience, you can book your internship in New Delhi around Raksha Bandhan!
India is known for its vibrant and colourful festivals, such as Diwali Festival of Lights, as well as its culture and history. Read on to find out more about the festival called Raksha Bandhan, which celebrates the eternal sibling bond.
We all love our brothers and sisters, but don’t probably express it enough (or express it at all). And while some of us may question religion, it is the one and only ancient festival in Hinduism that celebrates the emotional bonding of love between a brother and a sister.
Discover the culture
“Raksha Bandhan” or “Rakhi” is symbolised by a colourful thread made of silk. It is studded with sequins or semi-precious stones. The sister ties this thread around her brother’s wrist.
In doing so, she wishes for his well being and good health. In return, the brother promises to protect her from the weak and evil. This year, Raksha Bandhan is on August 29th.
On the morning of rakhi, brothers and sisters wear new clothes, mostly Indian kurtas and pyjamas in order to go through the rituals. It begins with a small puja and transcends into the tying of rakhi.
A thali or a large plate is prepared with a diya or lighted lamp, a rakhi, sindoor, and tilak (bindi made of red powder) and some sweets. The sister ties the rakhi and applies the sindoor on the brother’s forehead and the brother may touch her feet to receive her blessings. They both hug and feed each other sweets and the brother then gives his sister a gift.
A celebration of siblings
In celebrating the special bond between siblings, cousins and family are included too. Sometimes, this bond can be extended to neighbours even or to people who are biologically unrelated.
“Like any other festival in India,” says Vidushi, “rakhi is an occasion where families get together to perform the rituals and have a meal together thereafter.”
A week prior to rakhi, sisters usually go out in search to find the best looking thread for their brothers. Brothers buy gifts and sweets for their sisters. It is the most exciting part of the festival and the fun lies in keeping it a secret from each other.
A broader view
Viewed in the larger context, the celebrations can be extended beyond the brother-sister relationship to include cross border neighbours. Essentially, it signifies the bond of love and protection and can be seen as universal brotherhood of mankind.
“It is the spirit that the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore called upon Hindus and Muslims of Bengal to come together and celebrate brotherhood. He inspired them to unite against the oppressive forces of the British Colonial rule”.
Different states in India have different ways of celebrating the festival. But what is common is that regardless of being geographically separated sometimes, sisters still choose to post rakhi to their brothers for the day.
And no matter how rough or smooth the relationship between the brother and sister has been, rakhi is a reminder of their eternal bond and urges them to forget the negative and focus on the good.
“After all, religion in India does try to get people closer,” says Vidushi.
Contact the if i could… team to find out more about you can intern in New Delhi with if i could… and be a part of India’s wonderful festivals! We look forward to hearing from you.