Why brothers present gifts to sisters?
We were all busy sharing sweets,wishes and gossips over Bhai Duj celebrations when my dear niece complained that her younger brother ( who is still in school) hasn’t presented her with any gift for the occasion.
Well, her complain was valid as since time immemorial there has been a ritual of brothers presenting money or gifts to their sisters.
However, the question of her younger brother held equal ground. All that the child wanted to know was- ‘Why does a brother has to give something? What’s the logic behind it?’
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‘LOGIC’ was all the young mind was asking for. Of course, that’s what kids are best at- making us question things we never question and have so uncomplainingly adjusted to.
Strange but majority of us ‘know it all’ elders will dismiss this very question by a simple answer- It’s a ritual and rituals have to be followed. Thereby pushing yet another curious generation of minds into ‘follow it blindly’ mould.
Anyhow, almost all our rituals, traditions and rules came into being due to a cause. A cause that very well suited their times. Today, though we follow the same rituals and traditions we have much forgotten the real reason behind them.
In olden days once daughters were married they were considered to belong to another family. They held no share in their paternal property. While in her new family whosoever be the eldest male – be it her husband, father in law or brother in law, carried the charge of monetary matters ( as joint families were prevalent in those times). Due to such patriarchy prevalent, a women never had any money or saving truly of her own except for the gifts and money that were especially given to her.
Also travelling wasn’t as convenient in previous times as it is today. It took several days to travel from one place to another. Therefore, once married, a girl was only able to visit her maternal home on special occasions like festivals or weddings. Which also meant that if somehow she met an unprecedented situation at her place, it would take her days to send a message of help to her brothers. Due to all these points there started a tradition of brothers presenting their sister with gifts/ money whenever she visited on any festival. Families did so as a non-obvious monetary help to their daughters.
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Even today, in many parts of our country females are entirely dependent on male members of the family for monetary matters. In such parts this tradition still holds meaning and it’s real importance.
However, in cities and metros gifts are an important festival norm which we follow with due happiness. The happiness of sharing , the happiness of bringing smile on your sister’s face and seeing her eyes sparkle with excitement.
Acknowledgement- Thanks to my nephew Shaurya, whose unchained thoughts inspired this article.