Bhai Dujh. Another version of Raksha Bandhan with the same theory behind it- The boy protects his sister and the sister prays for her brother’s health and blesses him.??
Tradition: Sisters perform aarti for their brother and apply a red tika on the brother's forehead. In West Bengal, it’s three tikas, one of kajal (for nazar), ghee (for health) and chandan (for prosperity). This tika ceremony on the occasion of Bhai Bij signifies the sister's sincerest prayers, for the long and happy life of her brother and treat them with gifts (compulsory). In return, brothers bless their sisters and may treat them also with gifts or cash (but it isn’t compulsory, apparently)??
Me: I have two bothers who are my third cousins. That also means that I don’t really know them. The only time we meet is on Bhai dujh (‘bhai phota' in West Bengal). Did I mention that they’re kids? Below 10 years?? SO, this year I refused to conform to the traditions that I quietly followed every year. Why you ask? Well, because I don’t trust a 9-year-old to protect me from anything. I’m older, stronger and independent and most likely to be successful at saving their asses if they ever needed help. They, on the other hand, aren’t allowed to leave the house alone.? I made the rules very clear. I want them to perform the aarti for me. I will be the one who gets the tikas and blessings because I rightfully deserve them if I’m expected to protect those kids. Those were my only conditions for this year. Mostly because I wanted to be the one who got handed the plate full of my favourite foods (also part of tradition that only the boys experience), but still, I think I, as an independent and strong woman, deserve this, even though it means being petty in this argument that involved two little kids.
You’ll be happy to know that the verdict wasn’t far from what I wanted. I was first asked to not attend the event, but then, I sort of got my way. The boys performed aarti for me and I, for them. They got plates of sweets and so did I. It wasn't what I wanted, but it was one tiny step towards progressive religion.