Culture Dose: The South Asian Ribbon of Affection
What is (Raa-khee)?
Great! You got that part right away. Now, here’s what’s left to assimilate.
South Asian culture comprises traditions that deeply value togetherness. One of the many traditions tending after this knot of solidarity is Raksha Bandhan, or more popularly known ‘Rakhi’ (pronounced Raa-khee). This year, the festival will mark celebrations on August 15.
On Rakhi, essentially, sisters tie an auspicious piece of thread (Rakhi) onto their brothers’ wrist. This ritual is a prayer in disguise for prosperity of their brother(s). In return, brothers vow to protect and guide their sisters, come what may. The sentiment also takes form of a reciprocatory gift exchange, which includes anything from traditional sweets to swanky gadgets. Simply put, celebrators are definite shoppers (and if you’re wondering, then yes, they also go Rakhi shopping in Canada).
The festival is not only celebrated by patrons of Indian descent but also of Pakistani and Nepalese origin. Adding to that, Rakhi is not just limited to siblings and cousins. It’s a symbol of respect and love practiced between friends.
Thanks to the digital age, celebrators who are spread out and away from homeland now make up for the distance via technological samaritans—evidence of the innate desire to come together, any way possible.
What’s in it for Canadian brands?
With a 2 million-plus population, Canadian brands stand an opportunity to connect with Canada’s largest visible minority group: the South Asian community. Cultural traditions are a segue to tug at the heartstrings of ethnic communities, and if pulled off effectively, Canadian brands can win over the burgeoning immigrant population.
We hope you found this dose of culture insightful. It’s our way of tending to Canadian marketers, and celebrating Rakhi. On that note, Happy Rakhi!