Importance of bracelets in Indian culture and their regional diversity

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  • Symbolic of the status of bride, bracelets signify the well-being of a woman’s husband and his family
  • Despite many elegant designs on display, glass or metal bracelets are preferred only for auspicious occasions like during the wedding or for a festival.
  • According to a ceremony called mameru in Gujarat, a bride’s maternal uncle gives her the chooda with a silk sari

Bangle bracelets have been an integral part of Indian culture since time immemorial and continue to be so. It is in fact considered to be one of the most important adornments for a married woman. Symbolizing the status of bride, bangle bracelets signify the well-being of a woman’s husband and his family.

There has been concrete evidence, which testifies that bracelets have been part of Indian culture since ancient times. The bronze figure of a dancer wearing a collection of bracelets that was unearthed in Mohanjodaro also establishes the inseparable connection these wrist adornments had with our culture.


Antiquities testify that bracelets were made from various metals such as terracotta, stone, gold, bronze and silver among others and almost any material that the craftsman could cast.

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Currently, of course, because women juggle home and work, this tradition has taken a back seat, but their importance to a married woman remains the same.

It may seem surprising to some, but even today women in some communities are very superstitious about bracelets. Apparently, even when swapping out old bracelets with a new set, they tie a string or the end of their saree to make sure their arm isn’t bare even for a second.

According to tradition, they are part of the solah shringar (signs of a married woman) of a woman and are usually made of glass or gold.

Trendy plastic bracelets. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

However, bracelets have changed over time and have become much more trendy to suit contemporary fashion. Funky looking bracelets with geometric shapes have also been pushed into the market and are worn by both married and unmarried women.

Despite many elegant designs on display, glass or metal bracelets are preferred only for auspicious occasions like at a wedding or festival.

In a culturally rich country like India, the color and material the bracelet is made of varies from region to region. Here are some of the regions and types of bracelets worn here as illustrated by you :

Rajasthan and Gujarat

Brides in the region wear ivory or chooda bracelets. According to a ceremony called mameru in Gujarat, a bride’s maternal uncle gives her the chooda with a silk saree that specifically has a red border.

Punjabi Chooda. Image source: ourvivaha.com

Punjab

Punjabi brides most certainly wear ivory chooda and red bracelets. Again, her maternal uncle gives the bride-to-be a chooda, which she has to wear for a specific period of time. The bridegroom must wear the chooda for at least forty days or more depending on the custom of the family.

Maharashtra

In the state, a bride wears an odd number of green bracelets on the wedding day. Green bracelets are worn with gold bracelets called patlya and carved kadas called tode. Green bracelets, which symbolize creativity, new phase and fertility, are usually presented by the groom’s family.

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South India

Gold is considered extremely auspicious in the region. The brides here wear green glass bracelets with gold plating.

Bengal

Locally called shakha and pola, brides in Bengal wear conch bracelets and red coral bracelets. Apart from this, a new bride also receives gold bracelets from her mother-in-law upon entering the new home.

-prepared by Bulbul Sharma, editor at NewsGram. Twitter ID: iBulbul_

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