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Tradition of Choodiyan or Bangles in India

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Undoubtedly, bangles complement the dress of women. Wearing bangles or chudiyan is like adding one more feather to your cap. The best part about bangles is that it can be worn with any kind of dress. In India the tradition of wearing Bangles is very old and red glass bangles signify matrimony. Solha Shringar or sixteen adornments of an Indian bride is incomplete without decorating her wrist with bangles. Ornaments on the arms and wrists were worn in India from the days of the Indus Valley Civilization (2300-1000 B.C.) as is evident from the bronze figurine found in Mohenjodaro. Bangles cover the entire arm of this figurine. The Yakshini idol of the Sunga dynasty (321-72 BC) too wears bangles with intricate designs on it. In Sanchi, the female figures display bangles, as do the cave paintings in the Ajanta and Ellora.

As per the belief of Indian, it is must for married women to wear bangles. It symbolizes the well being of her husband. Some women in India are so superstitious, that even when changing bangles, they never allow their arm to be completely bare. A simple string or even the end of her sari is wrapped around the arm, until the new set is worn.

India being a land of diversities and this can be seen in the style on wearing bangles. In the eastern state of west Bengal, married women a pair of white color Shakha (shell) and Paula (red coral) bangles. In the northern India, especially Punjab married women wear set of ivory bangles called Chooda on each hand for 21 days, or a year after marriage, depending on family tradition. In Rajasthan woman wears ivory bangles from her wrist to her upper arm as jewelry of gold for the rest of her life or till her husband is alive. Although this tradition is now no more alive in Rajasthan, can be seen only in rural parts. In Western state of Maharashtra green color glass bangles are sign of married status of women. Green is considered auspicious color for a married woman in Maharashtra. Red color glass bangles are a symbol of well being and marital status in other parts of the country. Now that women are becoming more fashion conscious they wear matching bangles with their attire.The tradition of wearing bangles is prevalent in many other parts of South Asia and also Pakistan, Nepal. Not only Bollywood celebrities ,International Celebrities like Jeniffer Lopez, Late Princess Diana, Goldie Hawn, Sally Field, Hillary Clinton,Chelsey Clinton, Elizabeth Hurley, Anna Kournikova, Madonna, Sharon Stone, Jemima Khan have adorned this graceful Indian bangle jewelry at high profile social, music, Hollywood and fashion events.

Apart from expensive Gold and silver and traditional glass bangles, now women can be seen wearing wooden, metal, lac and other fashion bangles. Glass bangles are mainly produced in Firozabad in North India. Hyderabad has a historic market for bangles named the Laad Bazaar.


Juhi said...

Nice post Meghana, very informative too. Choodi Bazaar in Hyderabad is one of my favorite places.....even if you are not interested in buying any bangles, you can just go there and be dazzled with all the color and shimmer!!I remember going there and clicking pictures of the dazzling shops!

Aruna H. said...

Very intriguing. I'd be interested in also knowing about womens' toe rings (in Andhra we call them "mattilu").

Meghana said...

Thanks Aruna!

You can read about Toe ring,sindoor,mangalsutra,Bindi on my website under the label Indian Tradition or June 09 Archive.

sharell said...

I agree, this is really interesting. I'm particularly glad to have found out about the different coloured bangles. I'm eager to read through you archives about toe rings, sindoor, and especially the mangal sutra now. Thank you!

Ravi Matah said...

Very thought provoking and a well written article. In Northern India married women wear gold bangles and kadas' (thicker bangles) and glass churdian. The colours they choose are mostly matching with the sarees they wear, except for the 'Karva Chauth' fast, they prefer red and golden coloured glass bangles in addition to the golden ones.
Not exactly the toe, but women in North wear a silver ring in the the finger adjacent to the toe only when they are not wearing socks, i.e. in summer.
Good post - keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Ur just Brilliant Meghana .. In these Techno .. You have revived the beauty of Indian History n Culture ... Thanks alot .. I am a great fan of Indian Heritage

Meghana said...

Thanks Sri for ur kind words! would try and give more about Indian culture in near future.