I learned about Raksha Bandhan from Rajani LaRocca’s Storytelling Math picture book, Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers.
We used her picture book for the August 2021 Multicultural Children’s Book Club.
I also learned about Raksha Bandhan from my friend, Vaibhav Yadav, who trained at my boxing gym. He’s India’s Unified Welterweight boxing champion, a.k.a. the “Mike Tyson” of India. I asked him about Raksha Bandhan and how he celebrates in India with his family and he told me this:
And, as promised, he sent me photos from his Raksha Bandhan this past August 21, 2021.
He gives gifts to his younger sister and pledges to take care of her. In return, she gives him bracelets meant to protect him. Vaibhav told me that not only does his sister tie bracelets on her brothers, but all the female members of his family do too.
Here are the bracelets that the female members of his family have tied on his wrist. There are also commercial rahki bracelets for sale but they prefer the more ancient way of celebrating Raksha Bandhan.
Vaibhav’s celebration includes receiving bracelets from his mother, aunt, and female cousins. They end the celebration with a feast!
The women in Vaibhav’s family also travel to homes they grew up in to celebrate with the male members of their family including brothers, male cousins, fathers, and grandfathers. Vaibhav says they celebrate at noon with their families and return home for the second celebration at their home for dinner.
There are many festivals and holidays in the Hindu religion. It’s hard to pick my favorite, but if I were to visit India to participate in one holiday, I think I would pick … Holi, the spring festival! Vaibhav says that you don’t have to be Hindi to join in the color war! But Raksha Bandhan would be a close second!
Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers by Rajani LaRocca, illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat
How about you? Have you heard of the Hindu celebration Raksha Bandhan or is it new to you too?
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