As a bride embarks upon a new journey, she wants to look her awesome best on the most memorable day of her life. She starts looking for her perfect bridal lehenga and complimentary jewelry months before her wedding day. The major focus on the wedding day is usually the fascinating jewelry she flashes.
The jewellery flaunted by a modern bride defines her status symbol, whereas in earlier years, jewelry pieces were considered to bring prosperity to the happy couple. As a tradition, wedding jewelry was passed on from one generation after another to the bride. As time passed by, change and innovation took over and traditions were tweaked to meet the requirements of something new and unique.
Indian Vedas suggest that each and every piece of jewelry adorned by a woman, not only makes her look astounding, but also impacts her feelings and notions, mentality. These pieces of jewelry are believed to strike a balance between her mind, body and soul. So what are these 8 essential pieces of jewelry that a traditional Indian bride must wear? Let’s take a look and find out:
1) Maang Tika
This piece of jewelry is worn over the central parting of the hair with its pendant lying in the middle of the forehead. The pendant is of varying shapes and sizes ranging from round to oval to, even, square. Brides should choose the pendant as per the shape of their face. The cultural significance of maang tikka is that it covers the partition completely, serving as a protector of sindoor, which is applied by the groom on the bride’s forehead. Sindoor is donned for better health and longer life of husband.
2) Nose Ring
As per the customs of a particular region, a nose ring varies in its size and in several cases, may even get replaced by a stud. In some parts of northern India, nose rings are rather heavy. They are designed on lines of necklaces and earrings, and even studded with precious stones. Each nose ring is attached to a gold chain, which is hooked to the hair, right behind the left ear. It is believed that the nose ring improves blood circulation to the cervix. Therefore, married women are required to wear them at all times.
In Sanskrit, earrings are known as karnphool - the flower of the ears. Indeed, a pair of dazzling earrings accentuates the appeal of any bride like flowers enhance the look of any room. Earrings designs are often matched with the design of the necklaces. In Hindu culture, it is believed that having the ears pierced increases the tolerance level of a woman during labor pains, as nerves in the ears play an important role in keeping the parts of her lower body healthy.
4) Necklace and Mangal Sutra
Besides adding the glam to the bridal dress, necklaces are also supposed to orderly manage the many blood vessels in and around the neck. Bridal necklaces come in an abundant variety of designs, shapes, metals and patterns. To match necklaces up with bridal lehengas, they are studded with colorful, precious or semi-precious stones. Generally very heavy, they can’t be worn every day. Therefore, at the wedding ceremony, they are replaced by mangal sutra, a thread that brings wellbeing to the woman and her husband and signifies that the couple if now ‘tied’ in holy matrimony.
Various Bollywood numbers suggest that bangles are crucial for married women. Chudi, chuda or kangan, different regions have different names for bangles and depending on the traditions of that particular region, the colors of the bangles also vary. Chudis, made of glass, are worn for good omen and long life of the husband. Typically, married woman wear red or green color glass bangles, depending on their state of origin. For ex: Married women from Uttar Pradesh wear ‘red’ colored glass bangles as they signify their married status. Similarly, Maharashtrian women wear green colored glass bangles as a sign of their married status. Chudas are worn for prosperity and they are made of ivory. Punjabi brides also wear kaleris along with bangles. Other than that, bangles made from of lac and gold are also quite popular, just like diamond studded bangles are a symbol of prosperity!
Traditionally, ‘arsi’ is the only ring that a bride is supposed to wear according to the list of ‘solah shringar’. Arsi means a mirror and in olden times, the arsi ring was worn by brides on their ring finger. The purpose was to get a glimpse of her groom in the mirror as her face was draped with a pallu and she couldn’t look straight at him. Over time, the arsi was replaced by different kinds of rings as the need to see the groom in the mirror downplayed, and the length of the pallu became shorter.
The long flowing length the lehengas obscures the sight of alluring anklets worn by brides. However, during the pheras, when there is silence, chimes of anklets enliven the ambiance. Bridal anklets are traditionally made of silver, because silver is believed to be the metal of the moon, a lunar deity that influences the mind. The sound of ghungroos attached to the anklets, helps women control their minds. However, women today are more inclined towards jazzy anklet designs that come in beads, kundan and meenakari. Choice of metals range from silver, to gold to platinum!
8) Toe rings
Made of silver, toe rings are the last essential piece of jewelry a traditional Indian bride is required to wear. Toe rings are believed to bring fortune and happiness to the couple. According to the Vedas, wearing rings in second toe of each foot balances blood pressure in the uterus as a particular nerve on that particular toe connects to the uterus. It is also believed that this regulates the menstrual cycle, increasing the chances of conceiving. Therefore, toe rings are a symbol of procreation and a healthy married life.
Each of these 8 jewelry items worn by a traditional Indian bride has a particular significance for the bride, the married couple and their marriage. Most of the jewelry items have their symbolism based in the Vedas. They have health and mental importance and play a significant role in making the married woman’s life better and happier