A New Era of Rakhshabandhan

Yesterday was Raakhi, the festival of Rakshabandhan. It is a Hindu festival that celebrates the bond between a brother and sister. On this day, sisters tie a decorative thread around the brother’s wrist, symbolizing their bond. And in turn the brother promises to protect his sister. The word “Raksha” itself means protection. I don’t know of any other culture, religion or region that honors the sacred bond between a man and a woman as siblings. I find it so unique and I am so proud that it is part of my culture.

My sister and I both have 9 year old sons and 6 year old daughters, it is almost like we planned it that way. Raakhi is something we want our children to learn about and celebrate, to further strengthen the bond between the four siblings. 5 years ago sister and I started a new tradition. Priya said to me Rakshabandhan is about protection and love for your sibling. Why does it have to be about the brother protecting his sister? Why can’t it be about both- the sister TOO needs to protect her brother. I thought to myself, Priya can’t be the only person who thought of this gender disparity in Rakshabandhan, yet it is something that never once occurred to me and I have not heard about this amongst friends and family. At a time where 81% of caregivers are female it is a shame that we still follow an archaic tradition of the women needing a man to care for her, when the numbers tell us otherwise.

Since 2018 Raakhi is proudly celebrated in this unique way in my family. Our kids will learn boy or girl – you protect each other, you stand up for each other, you defend each other and the responsibility between siblings is to be shared equally. Who else is doing this in their homes already? And who wants to adopt this unique tradition to their family? Here’s to a new era of Rakshabandhan!

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About the Author

Niyati Tamaskar

Niyati Tamaskar is a breast cancer survivor, she was diagnosed at the age of 34 while she was breastfeeding her second child. As an engineer, she realized that she was a statistical outlier as this read more...

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