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Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Red and gold bangles are usually representative of good luck and prosperity, and are worn by the bride

The tradition of the Indian bangle dates back to the Indus Valley Civilizations. In the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro, a statue of a 'Dancing Girl' was found which depicts the use of circular ornaments on the hand. The girl is naked except for this. Bangles are an essential part of the Indian woman's attire, but the significance varies according to region and belief.

The primary usage of bangles follows from the time India was a purely agrarian society. Women had to complement the work of the men in the fields by preparing the grain at home, tending to the dairy, and household chores. The arms were used extensively, and it was believed that the strength of the body stemmed from the upper limbs. Women, therefore, began the practice of wearing bangles to preserve their strength.

Women wear glass bangles at festive ceremonies Image source: Saradhi Photography on Unsplash

The jingle of the bangles is said to keep a woman alert as she moves her hands up and down from working all day. In ancient times, activities like beating, threshing, winnowing were the jobs women did. They had to weather out standing for hours, bending over, and moving their hands. Over time, according to each region and religion, women began to have a preference for certain styles and types of bangles.

While a handful of bangles on each arm are a festive sign in the country, if one looks abroad, the concept of arm ornaments has been taken to another level. According to some historical sources, bangles were worn by Egyptian princesses. Other ancient civilizations also wore rigid metal bands on their hands.

In the west, bracelets are made of any material, symbolizing anything from friendship to personal charms Image source: Shelby Fordyce on Unsplash

In the west, the bangle is worn in the form of a bracelet, which is less of a circular ring and more of a chain wound around the wrist. They attach various trinkets to it and certain patterns qualify these bracelets to be worn as charm bracelets, which usually signify something personal or religious to the wearer. Friendship bracelets also work on the same principle.

Glass bangles in particular, bear a significance in the ceremonies that a woman is part of. It is believed that bangles are always a gift to the woman from another member of the family, which symbolizes acceptance, prosperity, and blessing. The color of the bangle also plays a role in the way it is worn. Each colour signifies a certain virtue of a woman, and the bangle-wearing woman is considered a complete woman, or the "sarvagun sampann stree".

Keywords: Bangles, Woman, Tradition, Bracelets, Western perspective,


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