Rakhi Celebrations: Rural & Urban India
Raksha Bandhan is a celebration of the pure and sacred bond that exists between a sister and a brother. In the multi-cultural land of India, the customs and celebrations have several shades, varying from culture to culture, even though the ritual remains the same at heart.
Over the years, a great divide has come between the urban populace of India and their urban counterparts. As a result of this divide festivals and the festive spirit has also evolved to fit the evolving lifestyle. People in rural areas lead a simple uncomplicated life. They work; they rest and celebrate according to seasons. City people, on the other hand, have a busier daily routine. There is more work and little play. Festivals are also celebrated in brief, abridged rituals.
In rural areas, Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is celebrated with a lot of festivity. Even grown up siblings live at shorter distances. Siblings usually live across villages or in neighboring towns. On Rakhi, like any other festival, people get up early, bathe, put on new clothes and commence their celebrations with prayers. Brothers visit their sisters in their respective homes. Sisters tie Rakhi on their wrists. The brothers, to show their love and concern, give them traditional gifts.
For people living in cities, it is rarely feasible to celebrate the ritual with the same excitement. Urban life is complicated and, as a result, festivals have been simplified to fit in such a hectic schedule. In most cases the siblings live too distant to be physically present for Raksha Bandhan. Sending Rakhi by post seems a much more feasible option and even more convenient is sending one online. Brothers too reciprocate their love through websites and courier companies.
The festive mood in villages spans across the day. Children flash their Rakhis and gifts all day long. Even the adults relax and enjoy in a festive mood. Fun, frolic and food make the festivals even more exciting.
Urban India is equally excited about Rakhi and the festive mood is evident from the road-side vendors and Rakhi shops and the festive discounts in shopping malls. Girls swarm around Rakhi shops to pick the best one for their brothers. Even though most people get only a couple of hours to celebrate, they celebrate it with the same fervor.
Any festival is incomplete without a range of delectable finger-licking-good cuisines. Whether it is Rural India or Urban India every celebration is incomplete without delicacies.
Food items in villages are usually restricted to regional specialties. Villages in North India relish kheer, petha, jalebi and halwa; in South India people go for payassam; in Eastern parts mal pua, rabri, rasogola and in Western parts Dhokla etc.
Urban India on the other hand has a compound culture and people indulge in delicacies from any part of the country or the world. Pizza is as much a part of the celebration as biryani and pudding is as special a dessert as mal pua, rabri or payassam.
Indeed, Raksha Bandhan is different in rural and urban India in a number of ways. However, the festive spirit behind this festival remains the same throughout the country.