Bangles in Hinduism

By: Gen Wright

Bangles hold great value in Hinduism and tradition. It is considered inauspicious for a woman to have bare arms. Traditionally, married Hindu women always weary bangles around their wrists. Nowadays, women may not wear bangles on a daily basis with regular attire. Bangles are more reserved for occasions and festivals, because they still hold sentimental value. Indeed to the Hindu woman, the bangle is not simply a beautiful ornament; it also symbolizes her womanhood and honor.

Vzag, an area in India, holds a special relationship in regards to bangles. The streets of Makavanipalem, a small village near Narsipatam, once bustled with the craft of bangle making. The village drew skilled workers from across India. This business stalled for some time. Today, however, the bangle industry is booming in all shops in Vizag. Business is conducted daily, dealing with a variety of bangles.

Ultimately, August and September equate to a very important time in the Hindu calendar. Called Shravanamasam, it is the Hindu month in which the highest density of festivities occurs. This time of the year sees the most sales of bangles in India. So, it is evident that bangles are still important in the lives of Hindu women. For them, it represents pride and tradition, as well as femininity.

In India, many traditional ceremonies connect with bangles. The South Indian ceremony called Valaikaapu occurs during the seventh month of a woman's pregnancy. The family celebrates, and bangles of all colors and designs are stacked on the woman's wrists. Once the ceremony is completed, the woman goes to her mother's residence. There, she will deliver her child.

Bengalese woman wear 'lohas' to symbolize their marriage; they are bangles that are alternately known as the iron 'kada.' Brides are also presented with beautifully crafted, white conch bangles and red lac bangles.

In Gujarat and Rajasthan, the bride's mother will gift a pair of ivory bangles. With these ivory bangles, a young couple performs the 'Saptapati;' without these ornaments, the ritual cannot occur. (The Saptapati consists of seven steps around the fire. Without this ritual, a Hindu marriage is considered incomplete)

Bangles today are made from a variety of materials. They also widely range in color, design and shape. They can be plastic, glass, kundan, lac or composed of beads. In semi-precious or precious metal form, bangles are often black metal, silver and even gold. The most durable of bangles are gold, of course. Glass bangles are the least durable, and may break with carelessness. Because of this, many women prefer gold bangles for everyday wear, and reserve glass bangles for special occasions.

For centuries, women throughout India and Pakistan have been wearing bangles as decorative ornaments. Consequently, bangles have come to hold great cultural, religious and historical significance. Its glorification in literature resulted in bangles representing feminine grace.

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Bead 'N Shop is an online bead store which provides wholesale bangles and has a collection of many beautiful designs of bangles.

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