By Pradnya Cowlagi
Raksha Bandhan is a tradition that has been practiced in India for hundreds of years. Traditionally, the sister ties a piece of string (Rakhi) onto her brother’s hand, saying that the brother will protect his sister forever. It also signifies the connection that they share as brother and sister. Even long ago, in the times of the Mughal empire, Rani Karnavati sent a rakhi to Mughal emperor Humayun, asking him to protect her fort while it was under siege. Rakhi is one of the oldest traditions there is!
My brother and I were both born in America, though our parents were born and raised in India. Raksha Bandhan is a way for us to stay connected with our culture, even here in the US, so far away from India.
In our home, we usually change a few things. For example, we both give gifts to each other instead of the traditional version where only the brother gives a gift. We also might make an American sweet for the occasion, instead of a more traditional Indian one.
This year, my new baby cousin joined us. Though he probably didn’t have the faintest idea as to what was going on, he was interested throughout the whole process. You could see that already at such a young age, our culture was already being introduced, and he associated it with an interesting experience.