Informant: Oh, during Rakhi, so Rakhi, when you the sisters in the family will tie a string like if you can, you can see them on my arm. (gestures to his wrist where he’s wearing strings). Of course that’s not going to be known but like you can see them on my arm. You tie them around the brothers. And the point of it is for the brothers to say I will protect you no matter what like this. I do it with my sister as well as my cousins every single year because they’re near and dear to me and I want to show that I will protect them through whatever happens to them. So every single year we do that I give them money as well. And then on top of that, and then they give me a specific treat that I prefer the most. So for my uncle and myself we both like this Indian treat called Jalebi it is-all Indians treat like desserts and everything are really sweet in general, but this one’s like- It’s like fried and then dipped in syrup. It is the sweetest thing you can get. But it is it’s so good. It’s amazing and that’s what I tell them to get me every single year. It’s my favorite.
My informant is a 21-year-old Indian American gerontology major at USC, this folklore was told to both me and his girlfriend (my roommate) in my living room.
He said that this is one his favorite celebrations because he gets to renew his commitment to his female relatives while also getting one of his favorite desserts.
It almost sounds like siblings are bartering for protection in this ritual, but my informant wears the proof of his commitment to his female relatives and is reminded of his promise every day. There’s visible proof of his relationship with his family and this ritual is a way to celebrate it.