20.10.12

Bangles - the Indian marriage ornament


Varied in material and decoration, bangles are among the primary ornaments worn by Indian women and are an important indication that the wearer is a married woman. Gold is especially favoured material for bangels but is less common than other materials. Lac bangles have been widely used in India since ancient times. They are worn singly or in sets and made in many colours and with many forms of surface decoration including tiny mirrors and gold leaf. Iron bangles are sometimes encased in gold and those of conch shell are traditionally worn by married women in West Bengal.
In Rajasthan ivory bangles are common. In some places they are worn in sets that go from wrist to armpit. An ideal set of ivory bangles includes 17 worn on upper arm and 9 worn on the lower arm. A total of 52 in both arms. Because of its high cost ivory is being replaced by white plastic nowadays.


Glass bangles are the most common of all. Every town has a special bangle bazaar where women spend hours making their selection of patterns and colours. The range of colours available is enormous. Brides usually wear red bangles, and for everyday use the colour is often chosen to match the sari of the day.


Bangles seller in Delhi

Glass bangles are fragile and when broken must be replaced. When a married woman becomes a widow as an expression of grief on losing her husband she smashes her glass bangles.
Glass bangles are worn by women of all classes of society, rich and poor. They may also be worn by girls but for a married woman it is a necessity. Generally between eight and twelve glass bangles are worn on each wrist, twenty four in two matching sets, but no rigid rules about numbers exist. Nowadays glass bangles are often combined with those of gold.

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4 comments:

  1. Importance of Mehndi in Indian Weddings...

    Indian marriages are known for their many rituals. In fact, the beauty of Indian weddings comes forth in the numerous traditions that are associated with the special celebration. Marriages being the most important day in one's life, mehndi has become an ornament for the soon to be brides. Infact one whole ceremony dedicated to its celebration popularly known as "Mehndi Ki Raat".Indian marriages are incomplete without dance, music and lots of laughter.

    It is a common belief that the darker the color the mehndi leaves on the hands on a bride, the more will she be loved by her husband and mother-in-law. However, the significance of applying mehndi during weddings is not restricted just to sentiments and beliefs. Although these beliefs make the application of mehndi a much anticipated and charming tradition, the actual reason is of much deeper significance.

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  2. Fertility Rituals

    Marriage is one of the biggest fertility rituals Known in Indian culture. When two people get married. they are said to enter grihasta ashram where they are expected to bear children. satify their sexual urge, earn money and follow religious practices. Hindu marriages profess the idea of coming together of the energies and paving way to a new creation.

    Offering of Grains

    Throughout India, one thing that remains common to all communities is offring of grains in wedding ceremony. Mostly rice, puffed rice or whole grains, these grains are fed to the sacred fire in different ceremonies.

    Importance of Shiva's Bael leaves

    Holy Bael leaves are proffered in several ceremonies before the wedding and after it. In many communities in india, before the wedding day arrives, Bael leaves are placed in earthen pots which are topped with different kinds of cereals. After the wedding, the sprouted seedlings are then released in a flowing river or a pool. This ritual is performed to invoke blessings of Lord Shiva upon the married couple and pray for their progeny.

    Vishnu's pious Lotus

    As per mythology, at the time of creation of the universe, while lord Vishnu was pondering over the creation of mankind, a pious lotus rose out of his navel. On that lotus was seated Lord Brahma who paved way to the creation and illumination of the universe. Thus, lotus remains symbolic of procreation, birth and fertility. It is Therefore, offered during wedding puja to the gods to confer potency upon the couple. Also, At the time of a Hindu wedding, the bride and the groom are given the stature of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu because they represent the eternal companionship and exemplify how a relationship between husband and wife should be.

    Nose ring

    Usually seen as a piece of accessory, almost all brides sport nose ring on their wedding day. In some communities, girls are told to get their nose pierced before they tie the knot.

    Sacred coconut rituals

    Across India, since time immemorial coconut has enjoyed its association with human fertility in a sacrosanct manner. In Gujarat, there is a ritual of bride presenting a coconut in a customary way to the groom at the time of the marriage. Here coconut is symbolic of the progency of the couple that the bridegifts the groom. Of all the fruits, coconut is most closely related to human skull because of the three marking on its base that resemble human facial features.

    The mantras of virility

    During saat pheras in a Hindu marriage, there are several mantras that are chanted for progency of the couple. While the first phera is for a long lasting companionship, in the second Phera, "Kutumburn rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam", the bride promises the groom that she will fill his with love and will bear children of him.

    The History

    There was a time when potency was considered as the be all and all of all activities. The earliest ritual of fertility among Hindus can be dated back to the Harappan civilization where it has been discovered that people worshipped clay figurines of a mother goddess who represented fertility. Several phallic symbols representing gods in sitting position wearing bull's horns (Bull being a universal symbol of male potency) have also been found at the sites of indus Valley Civilization. As the world evolved and ancient civilizations paved way to the modern societies, marriage started being considered as a mandatory ceremony before women could conceive. Also, the idea of marriage was propelled by the thought of having the family legacy move ahead; so that families could get heirs.

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