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Food has always provided a means to promote peace and spices from several ancient regions was the common ground of a dinner at India’s Tandoor Brentwood from “parts” of what is now the separated India, Bangladesh and Pakistan with the goal of “souls coming together together to create loving peace.”
Rhaksha Bandhan, an Indian festival that celebrates and reinforces the love between brothers and sisters was here celebrated “between sisters.” It adds onto the idea of a ritual that inspires siblings to pledge their loyalty and renew their love every year, both as children and adults.
At the feast, all sisters came together in the India’s Tandoori Brentwood dining room to to tie a bracelet made of colorful thread, called a Rakhi around another lady guest’s wrist, and to say a prayer for her well being. The men in the room were also included! The classic tradition on Rhaksha Bandhan is for a sister to do this for a brother. The brother then pledges to protect and love his sister, and gives her a gift, such as clothing, jewelry, or an envelope full of money. The siblings then feed each other sweets.
Medical intuitive, Dr. Sarah Larsen, who teaches the course, “From War to Peace” at Burlington College, hosted the evening with the beloved community anchor, Martin Shah, owner of India’s Tandoori Brentwood. Dr. Sarah added how much it meant that “the women and men are working with the visionaries of the west.”
Martin provided the feast of dishes that feature the spices from various regions.
One “endless” piece of ribbon was passed around the room, symbolizing friendship and loyalty.
The ceremony reminded all of the guests that, “Our brothers and sisters are powerful forces in our lives. When we are small, our sisters and brothers are the whetstones against which we sharpen our identities. Siblings walk the long road of life together: they can be our playmates, our protectors, our confidants, secondary parents to our children, our partners in grief and joy. Sibling relationships can be stormy, and especially in need of a ritual expression of love.”
Rhaksha Bandhan probably evolved into the a celebration of the love between sisters and brothers because it was a way for Indian wives, who traditionally went to live in their husband’s homes, to maintain contact with their natal home and oblige their brothers to protect them after marriage. Today, the holiday has become a way for siblings spread all over the world to maintain contact with one another and send love in the form of a bracelet.
Like most Indian holidays, Rhaksha Bandhan is associated with multiple legends. Some trace the ritual binding of the sacred thread back to Indra, the god of thunderstorms and war. In the story, Indra is locked in a losing battle with a demon king until his consort, Indrani , ties a scared thread around his wrist on the lucky full moon day of the Hindu month Shravan. Her blessing rejuvenates him and enables him to defeat the demon.
Another legend associated with the festival’s thread-binding ritual is that of the chaste love between Krishna (hero of the Mahabharata and an incarnation of the god, Vishnu) and Draupadi (the polyandrous wife of five brothers, the Pandavas). When Krishna was wounded in battle, Draupadi knelt at his side, tore her sari, and bound his wounds with it. Krishna proclaimed her his sister, in spirit if not in blood, and promised to protect her for evermore. Later in the epic, Duhshasana drags Draupadi into court to be publicly stripped and humiliated. He attempts to unravel her sari, but Krishna uses his divine powers to extend the thread of her sari infinitely, confounding all attempts to undress her.
Reena Gaucher, Katmandu Boutique in Santa Monica thanks the audience for the relief fund that benefitted earthquake victims in Napal.
ALL, the All Ladies League, continues the work.
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