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Raksha Bandhan

The knot of protection

The festival of Raksha Bandhan honours the special bond between siblings. On this day, sisters tie a rakhi (thread) around their brothers’ wrists, binding them to each other with love. Raksha Bandhan literally means ‘the knot of protection’.

This is a simple gesture with great significance. In 1905, the great Rabindranath Tagore used it to unite the people of Bengal when the British sought to divide Hindus and Muslims for political ends.

In a show of solidarity, the people of Bengal took to the streets and tied rakhis on one another. The statement was clear: Do not divide us. We are all brothers and sisters here. We stand up for each other.

Around the world, barriers are being thrown up, rather than broken down. History attests that in times of uncertainty it is all too easy for peope to turn against one another.

So, this Raksha Bandhan, we’d like to revive Rabindranath-ji’s tradition and from 6th August until 8th August, we will gift you all rakhis in our cafés. 

The white rakhis represent peace and compassion. We invite you to tie them on someone of a different faith, nationality or culture, as a knot of protection.

Please do this. It is important and means a great deal. In this humble act we recall the sentiment of 1905: Do not divide us. We are all brothers and sisters here.

For every rakhi that you tie, we’ll donate £1 to Seeds of Peace, a peace-making charity that helps teenagers from conflict regions to learn the skills of making peace.

Through their inspirational work, the next generation of young leaders from areas such as Palestine and Israel learn how to tackle the issues that fuel oppression, hatred and violence between their communities.

Seeds of Peace bring these young people together in leadership camps to share their experiences of the conflict, so they learn to see each other as humans. They arrive expecting to meet the enemy, and leave with deep new friendships, which can literally bring peace.

If you too would like to make a donation or learn more about their fantastic work, please visit www.seedsofpeace.org

Do read our blog post reflecting on Raksha Bandhan.  And we look forward to seeing you over these days in our cafés.

Happy Raksha Bandhan!

PS. We will also have some mithai for you all to enjoy on the day of Raksha Bandhan!


UPDATE  AUGUST 2017

During our Raksha Bandhan celebrations this year, over 8,000 of you kindly got involved and tied rakhis on someone of a different faith, nationality or cultural persuasion, which means we – and you – have raised over £8,000 for Seeds of Peace.

We can’t thank you all enough for choosing to dine with us and to tie rakhis. We’re not sure quite where this story will end, but we know it has only just begun and next year will be bigger. We hope you’ll join us again.