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Thanks for the Protection COVID-Warriors: India's 'Rakshabandhan' Gets Dramatic in Virus-Ridden 2020

© AFP 2021 / SAM PANTHAKYAn Indian woman reacts as she greetsher brother an inmate at The Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad on August 24, 2010, on the occasion of Rakshabandhan
An Indian woman reacts as she greetsher brother an inmate at The Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad on August 24, 2010, on the occasion of Rakshabandhan - Sputnik International
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New Delhi (Sputnik): Even with all its competitive rivalry, everybody around the world knows that the love and relationship between siblings is bitter-sweet, but irreplaceable. India, which is called the land of festivals, has a special day to mark this bond between brothers and sisters called “Rakshabandhan”.

As people across India are celebrating the sibling festival of Rakshabandhan or Rakhi on Monday, a big wave of cheer has gripped the country despite the COVID-19 pandemic.    

On this special day, sisters tie colourful sacred threads called “Rakhi” on the wrists of their brothers as a gesture of love and affection and remind them of their bond of care for each other. In return, brothers promise their sisters to always be there for them and protect them from anything that may cause pain and sorrow. The Hindi word “Rakshabandhan” literally translates as “the bond to protect”.

​Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as observed on social media, Indians this year have extended their love, and trust to the doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, and lab workers, who have been battling the deadly virus relentlessly for months.

A lot of people also did not forget to send their love and gratitude to the Indian soldiers and police officials protecting the country and its citizens.

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​History and Tradition of Rakshabandhan Festival

The tradition of sisters marking love for their brothers with a thread is ancient. Although there are many references about the origin of this festival, the Indian epic Mahabharata mentions that Draupadi – the central female character of the epic had torn a part of her sari and tied it on Lord Krishna’s wrist to save him from bleeding during the war. In return for Draupadi’s gesture, Lord Krishna promised to protect her at all costs.

​This festive day usually begins early in Indian households. The first “Rakhi” of the house is offered to the deities at many places. By afternoon, there is a family get-together full of fun and feasts during the festival.

On this day, little kids wear new clothes and women dress up in beautiful Indian attire like saris and salwar kameez and tie rakhis on their siblings and cousins, who in return, shower their sisters with sweets, gifts, and money.

Siblings wish each other a long life and well-being on this day, and quickly get back to goofing around with their cousins.

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The first line of the Indian pledge says, “All Indians are my brothers and sisters", and keeping in line with that, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi began the day by offering festive greetings to the nation.

​Amid the pandemic, people this year are either stuck away from home or are avoiding public gatherings. However, families are still meeting up wearing masks and gloves. The celebrations have also moved online this time, in light of the virus.

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