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Redbridge Hindus celebrate bond of sisters and brothers by tying bracelets

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 August 2018

Hema Chandarana, from Woodford Green, ties a Rakhi on the wrist of neighbour Ravi Bhanot. Photo: Ravi Bhanot

Hema Chandarana, from Woodford Green, ties a Rakhi on the wrist of neighbour Ravi Bhanot. Photo: Ravi Bhanot

Archant

The borough's Hindu community has been celebrating the bond between brother and sister this weekend while gearing up to mark the birthday of one of its most revered gods - Krishna.

Hindu women tied rakhis – string bracelets – around their brothers’ wrists on Saturday, August 26 to commemorate the festival Raksha Bandhan, also known simply as Rakhi.

It falls on the full moon in the month of Sravana in the Hindu lunar calendar and marks an auspicious time for worshippers coming, as it does, eight days before Krishna Janmashtami, which marks the birth of Krishna.

The Recorder spoke to Ravi Bhanot, committee member of VHP Temple, in Cleveland Road, Ilford, to find out more about these two festivals.

“It signifies the mutual bonds of love between siblings,” said the 57-year, from Green Lane, explaining the origins of Rakhi.

“It’s a kind of ritual protection – a bond of support of the sister to the brother and in return the brother gives a gift of some sort to the sister.”

Ravi spoke of how he marked the day by visiting his sister’s home and giving her money and a sari in exchange for the bracelet.

He added: “In India, the brother and sister would have a special relationship and, after each of them had got married, it would give them an excuse to meet each other and express their love.”

However, he added that the festival has been embraced by other faiths and cultures as the festival has grown over the years.

“It’s something that has got bigger and bigger and goes across all sorts of class lines and divisions,” he said.

“It is mostly a family event but it is not necessarily between brother and sister.”

More than a thousand worshippers are expected to visit the VHP temple on Monday, September 3.

“At the centre we will have a depiction of the Lord Krishna and we sway him, pay our respects and say prayers,” Ravi said.

“The swaying replicates the babies being born.”

The event is set to begin 
at 7pm and continues until midnight.

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