Didn’t we like the late Sri Devi dancing to the tunes of “Mere Hathon mein nau nau choodiyan hai….” from Chandni or Asha Parekh shaking a leg in the song “Chhodiyan Khankegi from Do Raaste? Though the songs sounded pleasing then, I couldn’t understand the cause why women wore bangles and the importance of them. Now, that I have grown up I have come to know the importance of bangles.
Bangles are counted among one of the most important accessories of Indian brides especially for married women, they are very auspicious as they are the sign of them being a suhagan. Young and old women with auspicious Indian bangles are a proud beacon of Indian culture. Bangles have its own significance in Indian culture especially in weddings. Bangles have always been an inseparable part of Indian culture.
The word bangle has been derived from the Hindi word ‘bangdi’ which in Sanskrit means the ornament which adorns the arm.
Over the time, bangles have become much trendier to suit a more contemporary look, but they are still as significant as they were a long time ago. Bangles with geometric designs give them a funky look. However, for traditional ceremonies, only circular glass or metal bangles are preferred by women. People in different states of the country call them by different names. But, they have equal importance in Indian wedding tradition, notwithstanding the geographical boundaries.
Over the ages, the tradition of wearing bangles in India is obsolete, might be because the Hindu religion had come into existence much before. Since India has diverse culture with its different states, the wedding customs and rituals are also diverse to be obvious. Other classic examples of bangles in India are the copper bangles excavated from Mahurjhari; the ornate bangles dating back to Mauryan Empire and the gold bangles from the historic site of Taxila.
Even every goddess idol that has been discovered so far is seen wearing bangles. Research on ancient fragments show that bangles were used to be made from copper, bronze, shell, terra cotta, silver, gold, lac, glass and anything that could be used in craftsmanship.
Bangles, especially made of lac, glass and shell are a must for a married woman. The accessories which symbolise a marriage are the most powerful expressions in Indian Hindu culture. The symbols like shankha, pola, sindoor and toe rings imbibe age-old traditions of those regions. Although culture is never stagnant, such traditions can never fade as long as Hindu religion is prevalent. The dreams and desires of an Indian contemporary woman may vary, but it always adheres something special to define her persona and reflect the woman that she is. Following the dictates of a poignant past and these tiny symbols of marriage can indeed make her feel so married and so much like a woman.
In present times, women, in spite of their marital status adorn their arms with bangles that are available in various types and styles as they believe that wearing of jewelry after marriage or before marriage has no relation to their husband’s age. Hence, these days, bangle or bracelets are worn by fashion conscious girls with as much style as their mothers and grandmothers wore as part of tradition.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)