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Significance of bangles in Indian culture and their regional diversity

In spite of such stylish designs at display, bangles either made of glass or metal are only preferred for auspicious occasions like during marriage or for a festival.

  • Symbolic of married status, bangles signify the well-being of a woman’s husband and her family
  • In spite of many stylish designs at display, bangles either made of glass or metals are only preferred for auspicious occasions like during marriage or for a festival
  • According to a ceremony called mameru in Gujarat, a bride’s maternal uncle gives her the chooda along with a silk sari

Since time immemorial, bangles have been an intrinsic part of Indian culture and continue to be so. It is in fact considered to be one of the most important ornaments for a married woman. Symbolic of married status, bangles signify the well-being of a woman’s husband and her family.

There have been concrete evidences, which testify that bangles have been a part of Indian culture since ancient times. The bronze figure of a dancing girl wearing a collection of bangles that has been unearthed at Mohanjodaro also establishes the inseparable connection these wrist ornaments had with our culture.

The antiques testify that bangles were made from various metals like terracotta, stone, gold, bronze and silver among others and almost every material that the craftsman could mould.

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Presently, of course because the women juggle between home and work this tradition has taken a backseat but the importance of them to a married woman remains the same.

It might seem astonishing to some but even today women in certain communities are very superstitious about bangles. Apparently, even while changing old bangles with a new set, they either tie a string or the end of their sari to ensure that their arm is not bare even for a second.

As per the tradition they are a part of the solah shringar (signs of a married woman) of a woman and are generally made of glass or gold.

Trendy plastic bangles. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Trendy plastic bangles. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

However, bangles have changed over time and have become much trendier to suit the contemporary fad. Funky looking bangles with geometrical shapes have also been nudged in the market and are worn by both married and un-married women.

In spite of many stylish designs at display, bangles either made of glass or metal are only preferred for auspicious occasions like during marriage or for a festival.

In a culturally rich country as India, the colour and the material from which the bangle is made of vary from regions to regions. Here are some of the regions and the types of bangles worn here as illustrated by TOI:

Rajasthan and Gujarat

The brides in the region wear ivory bangles or chooda. According to a ceremony called mameru in Gujarat, a bride’s maternal uncle gives her the chooda along with a silk sari that specifically has a red border.

Punjabi Chooda. Image Source: ourvivaha.com
Punjabi Chooda. Image Source: ourvivaha.com

Punjab

The Punjabi brides most certainly wear chooda made of ivory and red bangles. Again her maternal uncle gives the bride-to-be a chooda, which she has to wear for a specific period of time. The newly-married has to wear the chooda for a minimum of forty days or longer as per the custom of the family.

Maharashtra

In the state, a bride wears odd number of green bangles on the wedding day. The green bangles are worn with gold ones called patlya and carved kadas known as tode. The green bangles, which symbolize creativity, new phase and fertility are generally presented by the groom’s family.

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Southern India

Gold is considered to be extremely auspicious in the region. The brides here wear green glass bangles with gold plated ones.

Bengal

Locally called shakha and pola, the brides in Bengal wear conch shell bangles and a red coral bangles. Apart from this, a new-bride is also given gold bangles by her mother-in-law upon her entry into the new house.

-prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff-writer at NewsGram. Twitter handle: iBulbul_

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