In North India, the festival of Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on full moon in the Hindu month of Shravana (July-August).

In this, the sister ties a rakhi (holy thread) on the right wrist of her brother. In turn, the brother gives her a gift and promises to look after her. They both offer sweets to each other.

Those who don’t have a brother can confer ‘honorary’ status of brother on a man by tying a rakhi. One of the better-known stories about rakhi is of a queen of the small kingdom of Chittor. Her kingdom was threatened by the Sultan of Gujarat. She promptly sent off a rakhi to the Emperor of India, Humayun. The emperor, now her ‘brother’, rode in with his army to help his ‘sister’ in distress.

Sister Puts Vermillion Tika on Brother's Forehead
Sister Puts Vermillion Tika on Brother

Ties Rakhi
Ties Rakhi

Sanjay Kumar)
Offers sweets (Photos: Sanjay Kumar)

Are there other festivals around the world that celebrate a particular relationship like Rakhi? I look forward to hearing about them from you.

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About the author

Sanjay Kumar is a linguistics graduate, advertising copywriter and an itinerant traveler. He lives in New Delhi and will be sharing more insights about life in India in the months to come.