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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in India Lesson 12 - Brother and Sister Day
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in India Series at HindiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Hindi holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 12 - Brother and Sister Day. In Hindi, it’s called Raksha Bandhan.
The relation between a brother and a sister is of great significance in Indian culture. In this lesson, we’ll be talking about Raksha Bandhan, a day marked on the full moon in August, held especially to commemorate the relationship between siblings.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Young men are a little apprehensive of this day. Do you know why?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Brother and Sister Day is also known as Rakhi Poornima because it always falls on a full moon, or in Hindi poornima, in the month of Shravan. The day is commonly referred to as just Rakhi. On this day, girls tie the Rakhi thread, known in Hindi as Rakhi on their brothers’ wrists. This is applicable not just to direct siblings and cousins, but to distant relatives and non-relatives alike. So a girl can tie Rakhi even on a friend, or in Hindi Dost, who she thinks of as a brother.
Rakhi is the name of the thread that a sister ties on the wrist of her brother. These days, expensive and elaborately decorated Rakhis are also available, but in reality any ordinary thread can be used as Rakhi. Sisters tie this thread on their brother’s wrist, pray for his long life, apply a tilak mark on his forehead, and offer him sweets. This Rakhi thread is a commitment from the brother, or Bhai that he will protect his sister, or Behan, for life and take care of her well-being.
Many years ago, Rajput women and princesses from a royal warrior clan adopted this method with neighboring chieftains to protect against attacks. Rakhi is mentioned in many other mythological tales as well. In the modern context, more than protection, it is a sign of the love, or Pyaar, between a sister and brother, and brothers are known to travel long distances to be with their sisters on this day. It has become a tradition that after Rakhi, the brother gives gifts to his sister.
In India, there are two festivals dedicated to the brother sister-relationship. One is Rakhi, and the other is Bhaiya Dooj, which falls two days after Rakhi. Both are quite similar, except that no Rakhi is tied in Bhaiya Dooj.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Young men these days are a little apprehensive of this day. Do you know why?
If a girl ties Rakhi on a boy, he becomes like her brother. That is why boys get apprehensive that a girl they are attracted to could also tie Rakhi on them. Some boys even tend to skip school on this day to avoid the situation!
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have a similar festival based on sibling relationships in your culture as well?
Leave us a comment telling us at HindiPod101.com!
And we’ll see you in the next lesson!

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Do you have a similar festival based on sibling relationships in your culture as well?