Hinduism

Purpose of mangalsutra and kumkum:

The Hindu tradition, marriage is a holy alliance between two souls. There is a purpose behind it and a sense of duty towards one’s family to continue the progeny together with a social obligation to abide by its laws, norms, values and traditions. A marriage founded on such high values is bound to be happy, harmonious and progressive.

During the formative days of ancient Hindu society, rishis and munis formed and developed the institution of marriage after great deliberations. Through their past experiences, wise Indian men realized that for a happy marriage, the two partners have to be sincere, loyal and caring. They also realized that as a mother, wife and daughter, the woman plays a major role in keeping different relations intact in a family.

Sage Shwetaketu, a great social thinker in the early years of Vedic society, worked out details for the institution of marriage which were later amended and improved. He laid down the guidelines, norms, chronology of rituals, customs and traditions related to marriage.

The principal purpose of his framing marriage customs and traditions was to ensure lasting harmony in relations not only between the two people directly involved but also between the two families. While laying down details, sage Shwetaketu kept in mind the psychological, physical and mental needs of the couple so that they bond well with each other, and for life. He decided on such customs and traditions that served as lifelong reminders of sincerity and loyalty-the most important aspects of a successful marriage.

The most significant change the wise sage introduced was to give the maiden a new identity at the time of her marriage. Apart from the mangalsutra-mangal r ‘well-being’ and sutra means ‘thread’; it is worn for the means well-being of the husband-toe rings, kumkum, bangles and nose ring were made mandatory for a woman for her married life. These five sacred symbols gave the woman a distinct identity and responsibility. Of the five symbols, the mangalsutra enjoys a greater degree of sanctity, being an ornament of sacred bondage.

Mangalsutra literally means an auspicious thread. Originally, it was just a gold pendant strung from a yellow thread prepared with turmeric paste, together with a string of black beads, called manjari. The mangalsutra is tied around the neck of the bride on the day of marriage, symbolizing the union. Though it is comparable to the wedding ring of the West, it has a greater significance.

In north India and in the Marathi-Konkani regions, this ornament is called the mangalsutra, but in Tamil, Telegu and Malayalam cultures, it is referred to as thali.

A married woman is expected to wear the mangalsutra until her husband’s death. According to tradition, the families of the bride and the bridegroom both contribute a piece of gold and melt them together with the help of the family goldsmith. This is then used mangalsutras are available off the shelf and are not made as per tradition. The mangalsutra is made in numerous designs.

ones are the ramarpottu thali, worn The more popular by Telugus and Kannadigas; ela thali, worn by the Malayalis; and kumbha thali, worn by the Tamils of the Kshatriya caste. The design is chosen by the groom’s family, according to prevalent customs. Gujaratis and Marwaris often use a diamond pendant. Maharashtrians wear a pendant of one or two vatis. Bengali, Odiya and Assamese people don’t have the custom of wearing the mangalsutra.

According to the Hindu cultural ethos, the mangalsutra symbolizes the inseparable bond between a husband and a wife. During the wedding ceremony, the bridegroom ties the mangalsutra around the neck of the bride, with three knots. He utters, ‘May you live long by wearing this sacred mangalsutra, during a ceremony called mangalya dharanam, while the priests recite Vedic hymns and mantras. In some customs, the groom ties the first knot and his sister ties the other two knots. Later, the mangalsutra may be restrung on some auspicious day in the form of a necklace made of gold and black beads on one or two yellow threads or gold chains with an elaborate pendant of gold or diamond. Each black bead in the mangalsutra is believed to have divine powers that protect the married couple from the evil eye, and is believed to safeguard the life of the husband. Most Hindu women are extremely superstitious about the mangalsutra. If it breaks or gets lost, it is considered ominous. Therefore, the mangalsutra is much more than a piece of jewellery: it is a sacred necklace of love, trust and marital happiness-a vital symbol of wedlock Married women are entitled to wear the mangalsutra throughout their lives as it is believed to enhance the well-being of the husband and family.

With changing times, especially in the metros, for women who are not stay-at-home wives, the concept of wearing a mangalsutra has changed visibly. Now, it is more of a fashion statement than a symbol of marriage.

The ancient wise men of India devised the mangalsutra for the well-being of the couple and their married life. How the modern-day woman looks at this amulet will depend on her personal perception, and the constraints of the jet age.

Why Do Married Women Apply Kumkum? One of the symbols of an orthodox Hindu married woman is the application of sindoor, the vermilion powder, in the parting of her hair, and sporting a bindi or a dot of kumkum in the centre of her forehead, between the two eyebrows.

Pure kumkum is obtained with unadulterated turmeric powder mixed with filtered lime water or lemon juice and camphor. The desired result of kumkum will only be achieved when it is pure and is prepared as per tradition. Kumkum that is currently available in the market cannot create the intended effect as it is made with chemical dyes. Pure kumkum is prepared with great care and faith, chanting mantras all the while.

ominous. Therefore, the mangalsutra is much more than a piece of jewellery: it is a sacred necklace of love, trust and marital happiness-a vital symbol of wedlock Married women are entitled to wear the mangalsutra throughout their lives as it is believed to enhance the well-being of the husband and family.

With changing times, especially in the metros, for women who are not stay-at-home wives, the concept of wearing a mangalsutra has changed visibly. Now, it is more of a fashion statement than a symbol of marriage.

The ancient wise men of India devised the mangalsutra for the well-being of the couple and their married life. How the modern-day woman looks at this amulet will depend on her personal perception, and the constraints of the jet age.

Why Do Married Women Apply Kumkum? One of the symbols of an orthodox Hindu married woman is the application of sindoor, the vermilion powder, in the parting of her hair, and sporting a bindi or a dot of kumkum in the centre of her forehead, between the two eyebrows.

Pure kumkum is obtained with unadulterated turmeric powder mixed with filtered lime water or lemon juice and camphor. The desired result of kumkum will only be achieved when it is pure and is prepared as per tradition. Kumkum that is currently available in the market cannot create the intended effect as it is made with chemical dyes. Pure kumkum is prepared with great care and faith, chanting mantras all the while.

https://www.quora.com/Can-I-wear-mangalsutra-jewellery-if-I-am-not-a-Hindu-and-unmarried-girl.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/tracking-indian-communities/vedas-venerate-women-why-hindu-community-should-completely-open-sabarimala-to-women/

Himanshu shukla

Researcher [India-centric world]

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