Many cultures have their own traditions and expectations when it comes to weddings. We watched The Big Day on Netflix and took a deep dive into the looks of several Indian weddings. The Big Day was a great inspiration and got us thinking. Ultimately, we were so excited by it, this is part one of a series.
Not all weddings are created equal, regardless of culture. The weddings in The Big Day are examples of why the wedding industry in India is thriving, a wedding is one of the most important days in a couple’s life and they spare no expense setting it off right. The jewelry is gorgeous and incredibly intricate, which is what I have come to expect from Indian weddings, but the jewelry in The Big Day takes it over the top.
What I love about the jewelry worn in many Indian weddings is that it is all-important and all intentional. Yes, it’s beautiful and it elevates the wearer’s look, but that is only part of the reason it’s worn. Jewelry can be such an amazing storyteller, it gives us so much insight once you learn to look for all the symbols jewelry can carry with it. Here are a few examples of the different pieces of jewelry and what they can symbolize. I emphasize “can” because not everything means the same things exactly to different people, and that is not the message that we are implying. This is a general overview, there are many different backgrounds in India, from faiths to regions, that all are in play when it comes to wedding traditions.
ADORNING THE BRIDE
The process of adornment, or Solah Shringar, is a ritual in and of itself. There is an order that things go into place, bestowing gifts of beauty and divinity on the wearer. Not all modern-day Indian brides adhere to the practice of Solah Shringar, opting for a less regimented bejeweling. Solah Shringar means Sixteen Embellishments and is referenced in ancient texts. Every piece could be its own blog post because there are so many varieties that are all amazing.
In some cultures, earrings are a talisman that protects the wearer from evil. There are acupuncture/acupressure benefits from the weight of earrings as well. It is considered a matter of health, spirit, body, and beauty to have amazing, intricate earrings. Earrings are often chosen to match the necklace and to complement the hairstyle, as well as in contrast to the color of the dress. It is a complex coordinated effort, that pays off in dividends of beauty.
This is worn over the middle part of the wearer’s hair to have the gilded end displayed on the forehead. They can be varying styles, sizes, and designs but it creates a stunning effect either way. There are a few symbolic meanings for the Maang Tikka, including that it awakens the third eye. The Maang Tikka is also another protection against evil. The bottom line is that it creates a distinctly beautiful look, and the size that is worn should be based on the size of the forehead of the wearer. The earrings, Maang Tikka, and necklace are often made as a set so that they create a uniform look. Some brides add another head adornment called a Paasa Maang Tikka, which is worn to the side. The Paasa Maang Tikka is traditionally reserved for Muslim brides, but several brides of differing faiths have taken to wearing the lovely look. These are just a couple of the styles of Maang Tikka available, the final look is up to the wearer.
There is a lot more to cover, and we are excited to discuss it with you. We’d love to hear about your experiences, and the traditions that are part of your experience; no matter where you are from. Please share with us, and we may feature your story in an upcoming blog.
We would love for some of the brides in our community to jump in and tell us about the significance of your wedding pieces, and show off some pics of the set you wore! Click the comments button below.
Written by Kayti Kawachi