It’s been a decade since I have been away from home, but never have I celebrated Rakshabandhan without my siblings. It’s like a matter of life and death – for if we are alive, we have to be together, where we tie a beautiful silken thread on our brother’s wrist and he showers us with gifts and goodies and we spend the entire year waiting for this day to come again! While I don’t know any other way to celebrate Rakshabandhan, however, many other moms I know have different views.
Since BabyChakra Momstars are my go-to point for any help I need with parenting & child care, I shared my thoughts with them. It was interesting to see that many mums see Rakhi as a way to foster the emotional bonds between their children, irrespective of the gender of the siblings. Momstar Ritwika Roy Mutsuddi says – “For me, it’s a festival of love, not protection from a brother. It’s a day to celebrate bond of love, it can be between same gender siblings too. 'Raksha' more emotionally than physically.”
Embracing the winds of change, celebrations are not limited to just tying a Rakhi to your brother, but extends beyond that! It goes on to foster the bond between families at large.
Momstar Charu Sareen Gujjal, for example, shares “We are two sisters ourselves. For us, it's a festival that brings all cousins together and we get our chance to celebrate. We also tie rakhi to our father. So I guess it's beyond the roles of brother and sister”.
Momstar Vandana Yadav added – “In our home, Rakshabandhan is considered as 'rakshasutra' which is a symbol of protection against all odds. So this sutra can be tied to all elders by youngsters. We tie it to our mother, father and almost all the members, so instead of being a brother - sister festival it becomes a family function”.
Today, schools also celebrate festivals with young children, not excluding Rakhi. Girls are requested to bring Rakhis and boys to bring sweets and exchange them in class. BabyChakra MomStars see this as just another recreational activity, as a mere tying of the Rakhi does not convert a pair of classmates in to brothers and sisters, but definitely makes the festival enjoyable for the little ones.
Almost all Momstars who have same-gender siblings or same gender children mentioned that they encourage tying the Rakhi between them, as that reassures them of love and responsibility towards each other. Shweta Mhambrey Samantray, who has a boy and twin girls quipped, “Unless I don't buy 2 rakhis, 1 for each of my kids, they would terribly fight over it. So forget sibling love, forget gender equality...all three tie Rakhis to each other so that there is peace in the house and in my mind”!!
Inspired by these thoughts, I mentioned to my husband that we should have our twin boys tie a Rakhi to each other and I received a long, blank stare. So much for gender equality!
No matter what narrative you choose to give to your child, simply ensure that they have a great day full of smiles and love, for that is the true essence of Rakshabandhan!
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