Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan
What is Rakhi?
Rakhi is the tie or knot of protection. It is a Hindu festival that celebrates the special bond between brothers and sisters with bracelets made of thread. It is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs. It is celebrated in India, Mauritius, and parts of Nepal and Pakistan.
When is Rakhi?
Rakhi is celebrated in August every year. The exact date is not known because this celebration is based on the lunar calendar. Each year, Hindus figure out the exact date of Rakhi by observing the cycles of the moon.
Why is Rakhi celebrated?
Some historic legends point to the Rajput Queens who use to send Rakhi threads to their neighboring rulers who were like brothers to them. The brothers would receive this thread and vow to protect them.
One story is about a Queen (Rani Karnavati) who was widowed and realized that she could not defend her country against the invasion of Bahadur Shah, a Sultan from Gujarat (a state in India). She sent a Rakhi to the Emperor Humayun. When the Emperor saw the Rakhi, he was touched by her heartfelt gesture. He immediately started off with troops to protect her.
How is Rakhi celebrated?
All family members gather in front of a lighted lamp (diya) to watch sisters do a special prayer for their brothers well-being; pray for their brothers’ health, wealth and happiness. Brothers promise to protect their sisters. Sisters tie a thread on their brothers to symbolize the special bond they have with one another.
The tie is also the “knot of protection” because brothers promise to protect their sisters on this day. They end the celebration with sisters giving Indian sweets to their brother and brothers offer gifts to their sisters.
How can I teach my children about Rakhi?
1. Talk to children about India. Show them where India is on a map and address any questions or misconceptions they may have about India or Indians.
2. Ask children if they have heard of “Rakhi” or seen thread tied to boys or mens hands before? Provide them with the background information above.
3. Make personal connections through experiences they may have already had: Did your child ever make a friendship bracelet? What was this for? What does it mean for someone to get a friendship bracelet? Talk about bracelet being a symbol of friendship, trusting one another, being there for one another in good times and bad.
4. Extend your child’s understanding by creating a homemade Rakhi for your brother, cousin, or someone you think is like a brother to you. Provide them with opportunities to have cross-cultural experiences by preparing simple Indian sweets.