This festival is celebrated on the full moon day (purnima) in the month of Shraavana and this mostly falls in mid or late August. There are multiple stories and versions of the history of this festival. The most common one is the story of Krishna and Draupadi. Krishna’s aunt had a deformed son, Shishupal, whom he healed but there was a curse that the death of that child will be by the same person who healed him. Hence, his aunt pleaded Krishna to spare his life and Krishna promised to do so until he made a hundred mistakes. Shishupal was arrogant and took the lives of innocent people and reached his quota of hundred in no time. When Krishna eventually lost his patience and threw his weapon, the Sudharshana Chakra to kill Shishupal, he cut his finger. At this moment, Draupadi rushed to him, tore a piece of her saree and wrapped it around his wound. Krishna promised to help Draupadi in her time of need and kept his word. This historic epic was the origin of rakhi.
Rakhi tradition includes a puja (prayer ritual) wherein a thali (an assortment of things) is presented to the deities with the rakhi thread, kumkum powder (a powder applied on the forehead), rice, Diya (an oil lamp), Agarbattis (incense sticks) and sweets. Also on this day, the sisters pray for their brothers and both of them do not consume any food until the rakhi is tied. After the rakhi is tied, the brother usually gifts his sister something as a symbol of his love and affection. This is usually the most fun bit where the sisters demand fancy presents and the brothers are left with no choice!
When the rakhi is tied, the sister also feeds her brother a slice of her love with a sweet. What is an Indian festival without sweets? Kaju Katli, the quintessential sweet for this occasion is a perfect blend of cashew nuts and milk. Another all-time favorite is the gulab jamun, just golden balls of heaven soaked in a rich sugar syrup I must say! If you want to keep it simple, traditional and sumptuous all at once, the traditional kheer is your go-to!
This festival unites brothers and sisters all over the world, sisters send a rakhi to their brother even if they live elsewhere and the sheer joy on every brothers’ face on this day is just priceless! I wish all our customers a happy Rakhi!
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