Importance of Bangles for Women in Indian Culture:
A bangle is one of the most important ornaments that an Indian woman wears. For married women, bangles hold a special significance as they are a sign of their suhaag.
Bangles have always been an inseparable part of Indian culture. No wonder, bangles feature in so many of our film as well as folk songs. Let us take a look at what makes bangles such a special part of the Indian culture, especially for weddings.
The identity of every Indian bride
Bangles are traditionally a part of the solah shringar of Indian brides. It is mandatory for newly wed brides and would-be-brides to wear bangles made of glass, gold or other metals as they signify the long life of the husband. They signify good fortune and prosperity. Traditionally breaking of the bridal glass or lac bangles is considered inauspicious.
Bangles, over time have become much trendier to suit a more contemporary look, but they are still as significant as they were millennia ago. Bangles with geometric designs give them a funky look, however, for traditional ceremonies only circular glass or metal bangles are preferred. People in different states of the country call them by different names. But, they have equal importance in Indian wedding tradition, notwithstanding the geographical boundaries.
Traditional significance of bangles
Every region has a separate set of rituals that are associated with bangles. Would-be-brides wear the smallest possible bangles with the help of oil. This signifies that her married life would be full of love and affection.
- In the southern states, gold is considered extremely auspicious. In some communities, the brides wear green coloured glass bangles along with the gold ones, since green signifies fertility and prosperity.
- In Bengal, a new bride wears a conch shell bangle and a red coral bangle, which are locally called shakha and pola. Apart from this, the mother-in-law gifts her daughter-in-law a gold plated iron bangle the moment she enters her new household.
- In Rajasthan and Gujarat, the brides wear such ivory bangles or chooda as well. In Gujarat, the bride’s maternal uncle gives her the chooda in a ceremony called mameru, along with the bridal silk saree with the red border.
- In Punjab, brides-to-be wear ivory and red bangles called chooda. The maternal uncle of the bride gifts her a set of chooda. She is supposed to wear these bangles for a given period of time, and they can wear these for a minimum of forty days or longer depending on the individual family’s custom.
- In Maharashtra, the bridal chooda is significantly different. The brides wear green glass bangles in odd numbers. The green signifies creativity, new life and fertility. They wear these along with solid gold bangles called patlya and carved kadas called tode. The gold bangles are usually gifted by the groom's family.
The significance of colours
In the Indian culture, different coloured bangles traditionally signify different things. Red signifies energy and prosperity, while green denotes good luck and fertility. Yellow bangles are meant for happiness, white is for new beginnings and orange is for success. Silver bangles denote strength and gold bangles are the ultimate symbol of fortune and prosperity.
For Indian women, bangles are not just mere ornaments. Indian women love their bangles. It is a tradition to wear bangles after marriage for the sake of health, luck and prosperity. Bangles are more than accessories for Indian women. They are a part of their identity.