How would festivals be if siblings and cousins weren’t there to celebrate with us? Can you imagine life without a brother or sister to tease or cover up for you?! Every aspect of sibling bonding, from silly fights to laughter sharing and having each other’s back in tough times, is exceptionally unique. Rakhi, or Raksha Bandhan, is one such special day to pamper each other and strengthen this bond.
The festive day is all about dressing up, tying rakhi, exchanging gifts, and lots of love. And speaking of love, why not do something different this year? Yes, I am talking about giving a more personal touch to the celebrations, lots of fun and more organic beauty. Here are a few things we can do different this year:
Let’s make the celebrations unpredictable!
Let’s try and enhance the elements used during our celebrations. A simple kumkum thali with rakhis and sweets could be converted into a beautifully decorated platter. Along with dressing up let’s dress the space around you. How about making our own rakhi instead of buying it ?!
DIY Personalised Green Rakhi: All you need is some thick colourful threads/ribbon, large fresh leaves and petals, a piece of coloured paper, coloured pen, glue and a stapler. Follow these simple steps:
• Draw your design on a piece of stiff paper — it can be a flower or a simple circle. Use it as a mould to cut multiple pieces from your gathered leaves. Make at least eight to 10 such.
• Take your leaves and petals and start stacking them on the design till it is thick and nice.
• Staple it in the centre to bind them together.
• Now, staple this design to the ribbon or thread that you have.
• If you’re using multiple threads, you can entwine them to make them stronger.
• On the coloured paper, write your brother’s name with a marker; decorate it as you desire.
• Stick this paper on the leaves with glue to hide the staple pin.
Get an organic kumkum paste: The ceremony usually starts with the sister putting a tilak on the brother’s forehead using kumkum. When in the mood for mischief, this tilak can go all the way to the scalp! This time, let’s keep it organic and free of chemicals, safer for the skin. You can tease your brother as much as you want without bothering about that nasty red colour on your fingertips.
Make your sweets: Whether it’s a laddu or a chocolate brownie, the secret ingredient is a sister’s love. You can also choose healthier options such as honey and oatmeal cookies, a granola bar, or a fruit pudding. Here’s a super-easy recipe for mango sandesh that you can try.
• Fresh chhana (cottage cheese): 1cup
• Mangoes: 1 cup, freshly chopped
• Powdered sugar: ¼th cup
• Rose essence: 2 drops
• Pistachios: 2 tbsp, chopped
• Saffron strands: A few
• Fresh rose petal for garnish
• Mix the chhana, sugar and rose essence in the mixer (keep the consistency grainy) and divide the mixture into two halves.
• Take the first half of the chhana and place it evenly on a mould.
• Add ½ cup mangoes on top of it, spreading it evenly.
• Take the rest of the chhana and layer it evenly on the mangoes.
• Add the rest of the mangoes to the second layer of chhana.
• Garnish the top layer of mangoes with the pistachios and saffron.
• Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours, decorate with rose petals and then your mango sandesh is ready!
Decorate your rakhi tray: Let your tray be the point of conversation. Add a few sweets, personalise it with his favourite snacks so his celebrations continue. Some flowers to decorate, one or two gifts, and a potted plant. You can also decorate with leaves and twigs. Plants like the lucky bamboo, succulents and jade symbolise good luck and fortune. You can add funny sibling quotes and jokes!!
Decorate the space of celebration: The rakhi platter and the gifts are all done. But what about the house feast after? Let’s spruce up the dining space and the area around it .You can choose between traditional or fun decor.
DIY DECOR STEPS
• Get a tall branch and put it in a vase.
• Take your childhood pictures and string them at different heights.
• Get some fresh flowers or potted plants for the dining table centre and also any place around the house.
• Chrysanthemum and baby’s breath add a very garden-like vibe so use it liberally all around the space in vases.
• Let’s add some nostalgic or funny sibling pictures or any elements that take you down memory lane. You need a little enthusiasm and lots excitement.
Let’s take this opportunity to show our siblings how special and important they are because even the smallest occasions can be as grand as you want them to be.
Monika Poddar owns plant boutique Chlorofyl. Reach her on @ChlorofylKol (FB) and @chlorofyl_giftinggreens (IG)