Raksha Bandhan being celebrated today

Raksha Bandhan, the traditional Indian festival of brothers and sisters re-affirming their love for each other, is being celebrated with great gusto in the city today with gift shops, confectioners and other businesses reporting an increase in their sales.

By Prerna Suri

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Published: Mon 30 Aug 2004, 11:22 AM

Last updated: Tue 22 Nov 2022, 10:47 AM

The festival, which is traditionally celebrated in North India, begins in the morning with sisters tying a thread (raakhi) around their brother’s wrists, and marking their forehead with red vermilion powder. The brother’s in exchange, vow to protect their sisters from any danger, which they may face and present them with gifts, thus marking raksha bandhan (the bond of protection).

The traditional raakhi being sold in Dubai’s markets saw a metamorphosis this year, with many shops selling ‘funky’ raakhis with cartoon faces on it replacing the traditional red and golden strands.

Dilip Khiara, Director of Khiara Traders, one of the oldest distributors of raakhi merchandise in Dubai, said that these new raakhis have become extremely popular amongst children with most of his stock running out due to the huge demand.

“We have raakhis with Spiderman, Donald Duck and other cartoon characters on them which children are very excited about. They love the idea of tying raakhis to their siblings in their own unique manner,” he said.

The traditional sweets too, which are exchanged during the festival are also being increasingly replaced with chocolates and dry fruits.

“Premium chocolate brands are very popular amongst our customers who wish to gift their loved ones something unique on this special occasion. Apart from that, silver charm bracelets are also getting very popular along with amulets with silver strands on them instead of a simple thread,” said Rahul S, Manager of a leading supermarket in Dubai. There are still, however, plenty of takers of the traditional way, who say that the festival should not be commercialised to suit anybody’s benefits.

“Raakhi is an emotional day for me as it is the one day that I can voice out feelings of love for my sister. I would prefer a simple silk thread over any of these bracelets any day and feel that the spirit of the occasion should not be diluted by commercial concerns,” said Rajiv Malhotra, a businessman.

Other unique ways of tying a raakhi to loved ones back home are also available with many web sites providing ‘on-line raakhis’ for sisters to tie to their brothers.

“My brother is in India at the moment and instead of sending him a traditional raakhi, I decided to send him an online one. Its very good as he gets it on time and it saves me the problem of sending it by post, “ said Sudha Mahendran, a grade 12 student.

Raakhi in university

DUBAI - Students of the Brahmakumaris Worldwide University are celebrating the Indian festival of raakhi today. They will take the pledge to uphold the values of universal brotherhood and spread the vibrations of love and purity amongst them.

The Brahmakumaris University is an international organisation recognised by WHO and UNICEF and has received International Peace Messenger awards from the UN. For more information, please contact the coordinator on 050- 3592608.

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