In the Indian society marriage is a meeting of two souls rather than a social ceremony. At the time of marriage, if relation of decking up of a bride is with her beginning of matrimonial voyage, then it also plays an inspirational role in happy, satisfied and balanced life journey with her co-traveller (her husband). Without this decking up, the marriage is thought to be incomplete andis discussed here as sixteen steps of make-up. Let us know aboutsome interesting facts in this regard.
- Dot (Bindi): ‘Bindi’ word has originated from the Sanskrit language word ‘Bindu’. A vermilion(kumkum) or colour dot (Bindi) is placed between the eye brows on the forehead which is considered as the sign of the third eye of the Lord Shiva. The married women consider it essential to put a vermilion (kumkum) dot (Bindi) on their forehead. This is for prosperity of the family.
- Vermilion (Sindoor): In all the States of the Northern India,vermilion is considered as a sign of solemnization of marriage and at the time of marriage, the husband puts it in the upper central part on the forehead (Maang) of her wife and makes a promise to live together.
- Kaajal: Kaajal is make-up of the eyes. Not only it enhances beauty of the eyes, it protects the bride and her family from ominous effect of the people’s eyes.
- Henna (Mehandi): Without henna, the make-up of a bride is considered incomplete. All the participating married ladies and the bride apply henna on their hands and feet. It is believed that darker the henna comes out on the hands of a bride, the more she will be loved by her husband.
- Wedding attire: In Northern India, at the time of marriage, the bride is made to wear a red zari embroidered wedding attire (Ghaghara, Choli and Odani). In Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the bride is made to wear a red and yellow sari. Likewise, in Maharashtra green color is considered auspicious and the bride wears a green sari in the Maharastrian style.
- Flowers (Gajara): Unless and until a flower Gajara is not put in the hair of a bridge, the bridal make up is considered ineffective. In South India, married women daily put Harsingaar Gajara in their hair.
- Maang Tika: The gold ornament Maang Tika worn in the middle center of the Maang completely adorns the beauty of a bridge along with vermilion. It is said that the bride is made to wear this ornament is exactly in the middle of her head so that she may behave right and just and may take right decisions without any partiality in her life.
8 Nose Ring (Nath): At the occasion of marriage after taking seven rounds of the holy fire, the bride is made to wear a nose ring in honour the Goddess Paarvati. It is understoodthat it enhances the life and the prosperity of the husband.
North Indian women usually wear nose ring on the left side of the nose whereas the South Indian women also wear a small nose ring in the middle on both sides of the nose and it is called Bulaak.
9 Ear Rings (Karnaphool): After marriage wearing of ear rings by the new bride is considered essential. The reason behind is this that after marriage the bride must keep aloof from others especially such people who talk ill and hear bad talks about her husband and her in-laws.
- Chain ( haar ): A Gold or pearl chain is considered a token of commitment of a married woman towards her husband.
In some states of South and West India, the custom of bridegroomputting mangalsutra (a chain made of tiny black pearls woven in a gold chain) in the neck of a bride has the same relevance as that of putting vermilion in the Maang of the north Indian bride by the bridegroom.
- Armband (Baajuband): This is shaped like a thick bangle made of gold and silver and is worn on the arm. This is tightly worn in the arm. That’s why it is called armband. Previously the married women were always made to wear the armband essentially and it was shaped as a snake. This is thought that wearing of armband protects the wealth of the family and the goodness scores victory over the evil.
- Bangles (Kangan and Chudiyas): From the earlier years of the Eighteenth century the gold Kangan (thick bangles) and Chudiyas (thin bangles) have been considered as a sign of suhaag (sign of the married women). For centuries in the Hindu families there has been a custom that the mother-in-law used to give the same gold Kangan to her elder daughter-in-law in the rite of Mooh Dikhai (seeing face of the bride in her in-laws home for the first time) which was given to her by her mother-in-law on her first visit to the in-laws home and bless her to be happy and lucky.
In the Hindu religion, the crocodile, the elephant, the snake, the peacock, etc. have been given a prominent place. In north India, most of the women usually wear bangles which are shaped as open mouths of such animals whose bothendswere linked together. Traditionally it is thought that wrists of the married women should be full of bangles. These bangles are usually made of glass, lac and ivory.
There is a great significance of colour of these bangles. Hands adorned with red colored bangles of a newly wedded woman are a sign that she is completely happy and satisfied. The green colored bangles are a sign of prosperity of her family.
- Ring: For the centuries, putting a ring by the bridegroom and the bride in each other’s finger before the marriage in the engagement or betrothal ceremony has been considered as a sign of love and understanding between the husband and the wife. In our old religious books like the Ramayana and Kaalidaasa’s Abigyana Shaakuntalam also this finds a mention.
- Waistband (Kamarband): Waistnamd is an ornament worn on the waist and is worn by the women after marriage which makes their slim body look more beautiful. Made of gold or silver, this ornament has a ring made of tiny trinkets which make it more attractive in which the newly wedded women attach their bunch of keys.
- Angootha and Bichhua: This ornament worn as a big ring on the big toes of the feet is called Angootha or Arasi. Traditionally worn this ornament contained a small mirror. In old time, in the joint families the newly wedded woman was shy of looking at her husband before everybody in sight. She used to look at her husband standing near her quietly by lowering her eyes in this mirror.
- Anklet (Paayal): The ornament worn in the ankles of the feet with its musical notes used to inform every member in the house about the presence of the bride. In the old days, from the musical notes of the anklets the senior members of the family come to know about the coming of the bride and used to be clear off her way. The ornaments worn in the feet are always made of silver.