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Use of Bangles in India and Pakistan
The bangles are a decorative ornament that women across India-Pakistan have been wearing for centuries. In fact, the bangles have a great socio-cultural-religious significance in Indian and Pakistan history and culture. This is because literature has glorified this ornament to make it the epitome of feminine grace.
Besides all this, bangles have a very traditional value in Hinduism. As it is considered inauspicious to be bare armed, Hindu married women are always wearing some bangles around their wrists. Today, the modern day women may not wear bangles with their daily attire, but only on occasions and festivals. This is because to them, bangles have a very sentimental value. In fact, to the Hindu woman, bangle is not only an ornament, but also an important part of womanhood and honor.
Bangles are made of many materials including plastic, glass, metal, kundan, lac, beads, black metal, silver and even gold. They are found in different colors, designs and different shapes too. Of course, the most durable of these bangles is the gold bangle, and the least durable, glass bangles. This is why many women prefer wearing gold bangles for day to day life and glass bangles for special occasions.
There are different ceremonies connected with bangles in India. In the south, Valaikaappu is a ceremony that is performed in the seventh month of pregnancy. This is when a woman is adorned in the family way, using bangles. Glass bangles of all colors and varieties are stacked on the woman's wrists on this function. Once this ceremony is complete, the woman goes to her mother's place for delivery.
In Gujarat and Rajasthan, the bride's mother has to gift the bride a pair of ivory bangles. It is only on wearing these ivory bangles that the bridal couple can perform the 'saptapati'; without the bangles, this ritual cannot be performed. (The saptapati is the seven steps that are taken around the fire, without which no Hindu marriage is considered complete). Married women in Bengal have to wear the iron 'kada' (bangle) or 'loha' as it is commonly called, to signify marriage. In addition to this kada, the bride is presented with white conch bangles that are beautifully crafted and red lac bangles.
Vizag is an area in India that has a close association with bangles. This is because Makavanipalem, a small village near Narsipatnam is a place that was once bustling with bangle making, enticing skilled workers from all over India. Though this business had stalled momentarily, today bangle business runs briskly in all stores of Vizag. You find a great volume of business in a variety of bangles being conducted here everyday.
Shravanamasam is the Hindu month that falls between August and September and is the month where maximum Hindu festivities are conducted. This is also the month that sees maximum sales in bangles all over India. So it can be seen that bangles have been, and will always have an important part in the lives of Hindu women. It is a symbol of their feminity, tradition and pride for being a Hindu women.Asian Women Magazine in Urdu and English