Sindoor is a red powder (Vermilion), which is traditionally applied at the beginning or completely along the parting-line of a woman’s hair (also called mang) or as a dot on the forehead. Sindoor is the mark of a married woman in Hinduism. Sindoor is not just used by the womenfolk of India. Even men, boys, girls and little children apply a dot of this powder on their forehead when they visit a temple or attend some religious function. Kumkum or Sindoor is considered to be very auspicious by Indians and thus, used for various purposes on special occasions like wedding and festivals.
As per the Indian belief, red is the color of power. Vermilion is thus a symbol of the female energy of Parvati and Sati. Sati is believed to be the ideal wife, one who gave her life for her husbands’ honor. Every Hindu wife is supposed to emulate her. It is believed that Parvati protects all those men whose wives apply vermilion to their parting of hair. Sindoor is applied for the first time to a Hindu woman during the marriage ceremony when the bridegroom himself adorns her with it. As per Hindu customs, she is supposed to cease wearing Sindur only after the demise of her husband.
Traditional authentic Kumkum of India is made by grinding the dried turmeric to a powder. A few drops of lime are then added to this yellow powder, which changes its hue to a bright red. In earlier times, women preferred to prepare Kumkum at home. Now, most of them buy the ready made Sindur from the market. A traditional component of the sindoor is powdered red lead and other ingredients are alum and turmeric.
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