Indian bond between brothers and sisters celebrated on Raksha Bandhan
Raj and Amar Bhatti will celebrate the traditional festival this weekend in New Westminster
Like many other siblings who follow the Hindu tradition, Raj Bhatti will tie a colourful string known as a rakhi around her younger brother Amar's wrist this Sunday. It's part of a festival celebrated in India called Raksha Bandhan (which is also called Rakhi).
Raj, 26, and Amar, 22, from New Westminster, B.C. spoke to the CBC's Jason D'Souza about the annual custom between millions of Indian brothers and sisters.
Raj: It's an old tradition from when the men would go off to war and the sisters, the females in their lives, would tie this string on their wrist as protection. You can say protection, in a religious sense, from god.
Amar: I do have five sisters, so I guess you can imagine that my wrist will get pretty colourful, to say the least.
Raj: A rakhi can be very different. It can be simple fused strings together. It can have beads on it. It can have sequins. It can be very extravagant. It really just depends on what you're looking for.
I take your right wrist, and I would tie it. And once it's tied, I would give the sweet, or whatever treat it is, to my brother. Then there's usually a hug. We like to hug in my family.
Then my brother gives us a gift, and it's usually money.
Amar: When you meet up with your Punjabi friends, I guess you can compare how many rakhis you have compared to how many they have. Sometimes, getting five isn't so bad.
'Cause I've had some friends, they have like 15. Wearing around 15 covers like almost half your forearm, so it's going to be pretty tough.
Raj: It's always been said that, traditionally, the longer the rakhi lasts on your wrist, the more protection that the brother or the male has, and the more love that's gone into it.
So with us sisters — because there are five of us — we always compete, and we would try to tie it the tightest. And we always check in with them, like a week or so. "Is it still on? Who's is on tighter?"
He always tells us which rakhis fell off first. We definitely get different colours so we know who tied which one.
Jason: So there's more incentive to tie it as tight as you can on Amar's wrist.
Raj: Pretty much. I check to see if the blood is still flowing but, yeah, as tight as possible.