Story of bangles in the Indian Culture

Story of bangles


A bangle is a continuous ring which is thin and rigid and in size of a wrist. The word originated from bangari which means glass. However, the early day’s bangles were not made from glass but later on, the glass industry became more advanced and that is when glass bangles came to be. The glass bangles were more preferred than the rest of the models due to their shiny, transparent and lustrous appearance that was more attractive to the eyes of individuals. In addition to the lustrous aspect, the glass bangles contained an ability to be in shape still amidst the availabilities of primitive heating. Bangles contain different local languages in India depending on the area. Some term them as Bangadi, Choodi, Kangan, Chura, Vala or Valaya. Bangles were discovered in 2600 B.C in Mohenjo-Daro. The discovery was supported by the remains of human beings from excavation sites and actual artifacts. Some of the ancients sites that supported the discovery of bangles in India include the Roman Empire, Mauryan, and other historical sites. This is how bangles became a very integral sector of the Indian culture up to date.

In the olden days, bangles were molded from clay and shells before evolution came into practice and glass and metals started being used. Some rubbed stones and seashells on hard surfaces to give the bangle a shape. Bangles made from clay were given shapes and then dried. The discovery of metals and glass reduced the workload of the people since they were applied in many applications. This is because the glass could be cast according to the requirements and melted. This discovery made it easier for them to make bangles and a cheaper means, therefore, allowing many people to wear them There were specific precious stones which were extracted to make the bangles. All these materials were mostly natural resources since there were no industries and factories in the olden days. Some industries that came into being during the evolution gave the Indians some insights like using rubbers and synthetic plastics to make fashionable bangles. Taxila, Mauryan, and Mohenjo-Daro provided materials in spectrums which were from leather, shells, bones, jade, ivory, stones, glass, soil, clays, agate, bronze, copper, silver and gold. However, there was a variation in creation since some molded simple circular bangles while others embellished the bangles from precious stones. The carvings were in the form of round spiral and carvings of intricate motifs. These appearances gave some special status to the one putting it on due to the mode of creation and how it was carved.  The bangles were also a representation of the traditions and cultures of a specific region.

Bangles became a very important ornament to the Indians and an attire is never complete without putting on one or two of them. They give an aspect of knowledge regarding the understanding of human beings regarding the beauty and art that comes with making the bangles. The ancient times’ human beings depended on nature for many resources needed to come up with bangles. However, the discoveries made them realize that there was more to it than the natural resources which added some sense of art and beauty, therefore, building strong traditions and culture in different settlements. Every design and material used on the bangle indicated wealth and social statuses of the individual. The powerful and rich people possessed unique ornament mainly made of embellished precious stones and those that were artistically created while the other class of people mostly wore bangles made of metals like copper, clay, and shells. In India, bangles are mostly endowed by women because they are a sign of completeness in a woman.

The completion of women by bangles came from ancient times and the livelihood of the people back then. The people dependent on nature and ate animals, birds, fruits, fish, and leaves. They lived in natural shelters and caves before developing an understanding of hunting and farming. This practice then became an occupation for men as women were left behind to look after the homesteads and the children. As men continued hunting and gathering, they made some observations regarding nature and this brought to the invention of tools for farming and carving, weapons and other necessities which made life easy. Due to the practice, men proved their strength and potential by the extent to which they could hunt. In this regard, they started getting resources that could attract women by extracting some precious stones from the rivers and coming up with beautiful ornaments. This is why bangles are considered as a completion of women (saubhagya) in the Indian culture. These explorations made men start exploring the beauty that nature provides and not only beauty in human beings. This led to the addition of other beautiful objects that were used in offerings. This eventually became a tradition and was no longer a practice but a necessity in their culture. It became a basic requirement in every homestead and a strict tradition to the Indians. The bangles come in different shapes and colors which is a reflection of different understanding regarding nature and the harmonic relationship that the people have created from it. Gold symbolizes fortune, white new beginnings, orange success, green luck, purple independence, yellow happiness, black power, silver strength, and blue wisdom.

Bangles won by brides in different Indian traditions

In marriage ceremonies, the woman getting married is adorned with bangles which is a mark of transition from being a naïve lady to a grown-responsible woman. To them, it is not just a fancy ornament but a sign of someone who is endowed with a happy family. In Maharashtrian, a bride puts on green bangles that are evenly distributed and paired with gold. That pairing gives the green bangles an ethnic look. In Sikh tradition, the ornaments worn by the pride are very unique since they always remain very much close to the heart. The Chooda is in the form of white and red bangles which are paired together. This gives her a very unique look that everyone admires close by or even at a far distance. A Gujarati bride is adorned with white, gold, red and green bangles paired together. These bangles are presented to the bride by her mother as a sign of farewell and luck for the new journey. It is a very special and unique token to both her and the mother.

Malayali brides put on lots of gold ornaments on their weddings and this is what makes them special. It is a sign of fortune and prosperity to the bride and both families at large. A bride from Telangana tradition puts on a simple combination of bangles in the form of gold and glass. Those glass bangles are usually dark paired together with the golden ones. A Marwadi bride puts on ornaments that are usually very colorful just like her culture suggests. The ornaments are usually a mixture of pearls, colors, stones, and very many bling. This combination brings out a very unique shade that one can barely take their eyes off the shade. In Rajasthani tradition, a bride is adorned with bangles that are made of laakh and have work from leheriya. This tribe is known for its unique blend of bangles and the many combinations of colors. A Tamil bride which is a tradition from South India puts on gold ornaments which is a combination of colored and gold ones. A Bengali bride puts on bangles known as Shakha Paula which are made of shells and corals. In addition to the bangles, a ritual is performed by seven women who are married and is believed to have a connection with the historical practices. The bangles are in white and red colors and they are known to hold a vital place in Bengali women lives especially those that are married. Bangles play a very significant role in Indian Culture and they hold a very important place in people’s lives. They are an identity of the different tribes and tradition in India and the ornaments worn by different brides. It is a mandatory requirement for every bride in India to put on bangles that are made of gold, glass or metals. This is because the value of the ornaments represents the long lives of their husbands to be. Breaking of these bangles especially those made from glass is taken as very inauspicious act since they represent prosperity and fortune. In every tradition, there are sets of performed rituals that are connected with the bangles. Some bangles are worn by using oil and this symbolizes affection and love in the marriage. Some signify prosperity and fertility especially in the states found in southern India. The colors found in the bangles denote different meanings as they are worn by different brides from different tribes.


In conclusion, bangles indeed play a key role in Indian culture and the people in particular. They are a sign of completion in women following that it is a basic requirement for brides to wear them during weddings. The different colors that come with the bangles have different meanings and the pairing during weddings also brings a  different meaning. Bangles have provided the Indians with a unique character as attire is not complete without one or more bangles. It has become a necessity for them rather than just an aspect. They are highly valued and great care is taken when handling bangles especially those made of glass as breaking them is considered inauspicious. The bangles are not mere ornaments in Indian culture as they are indications of strength, wisdom, prosperity, health and even luck. All these aspects contribute to the uniqueness of the Indian culture.

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