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Informative Post - Bangles

N.B. Generally I do not do 'informative' posts for my own blog. Originally it was intended to be a Guest Post, however since that didn't work out, I thought I might as well post it here ... Specially since I had already put in the work & time!
Bangles displayed at a local shop
Disclaimer: The rites and rituals mentioned here are the ones followed in Hinduism. India has many religions and castes which might have different interpretation of Bangles.
As a child, which was almost fifteen years back [Wow!], whenever we traveled abroad innumerable women would stop my Mother on the streets and inquire about her jewelry [I call them a woman’s embellishments!]. We would patiently wait while Mom explained them the relevance of all her ornaments from the bindi on the forehead to the toe rings on her feet. It was all new to them. In the following years, the first thing I remember that was available worldwide, in the shops like Claire’s and Accessorize were the Bangles. Bangles would undoubtedly be one of the most commonly available accessory worldwide, from the Indian sub-continent today. Bangles hold great relevance in the Indian culture. I personally find them the most sensuous ornament if worn in the ‘traditional Indian way’.

Bangles otherwise known as “Churi” or “Kangan” in Hindi, were originally worn as ‘one’ of the many signs of matrimony. Today, in modern India, everyone from single to married, young to old woman wears it as a fashion accessory. However, if you were to go into the interiors of the country, in smaller towns and villages you would find that mostly only married women wear glass bangles in a bunch along with a gold/silver bangle towards the two ends of the bunch. While single girls could still wear bangles [in any color except red], widows however, are not allowed to wear any colored glass bangles.

Originally the only material in which bangles were made was glass. However, due to lack of durability, over the decades they are now available in wooden, plastic, metallic, etc. Also, their design has taken a flight from circular to all different kinds of shapes now [square, oval, etc.]. After checking with my grandmother (and Internet) I have discovered that different color of the bangles signifies different meanings.

Few common colors and their significance:
Red - Signifies Energy
Blue - Signifies Wisdom
Green - Signifies Luck
Yellow - Signifies Happiness
Gold - Signifies Fortunes

One of the first gifts given to a girl by her in-laws is usually a pair of gold-bangles as a form welcoming her to the family.

A married woman is required to wear bangles to signify all the above for her husband. One of the interesting anecdote involved is that sudden breakage of the bangles is considered inauspicious and could bring bad luck to one’s husband.

Also, the day before the wedding, there is a ceremony where the bride-to-be is asked to wear a few bangles which are a size smaller [with the help of a moisturizer/oil]. These bangles signify ‘loving’ and ‘happy’ consummation of the marriage [till they all ‘naturally’ break!]

Today, the bangles are worn throughout the world! Women color co-ordinate them with the outfits, wear them in one hand or both, in a big bunch or as single piece and we take it as one of the many ‘colorful’ contributions to world of fashion!