The choodi or bangles are traditional jewellery ornaments worn by women in India. Moradabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh is the largest producer of bangles. It is considered an auspicious adornment for married women. The wearing of bangles can occur at any age, but it is when a woman is getting married that the choodi plays a significant role. Nearly every state in India regards bangles with importance.
There are many types of bangles. The glass variety are the most popular. There are also lac bangles which are an older variety. They are not commonly worn because of their brittle texture. Metal bangles, especially those made from silver, gold and copper are worn as well.
The History and Origin of Bangles
Bangles have been excavated from several ancient archaeological sites across India. Contrary to today, women from residing in earlier civilizations wore bangles made from a variety of materials such as bronze, sea shells, copper, chalcedony and agate. This centuries old ornament was always worn in in pairs on each arm.
Today, glass and lac bangles are worn the most. During weddings and especially for the bride, glass bangles are mostly preferred.
Various Cultural Practices
Punjab – In Punjabi culture, there is a ‘chooda ceremony’. The maternal uncle of the bride-to-be presents her with a set of white and red bangles that have elaborate stonework on them. These bangles are not seen by the bride until the day the ceremony is held.
Odissa and West Bengal – In these states, Hindu women wear a pair of white and red bangles on each wrist. This is called ‘Shankha Pola’. The white is made from conch shell while the red bangle is crafted from lac or coral. Unmarried Bengali girls wear the ‘Bengali Bangle’. It is made from bronze and is covered by a thin gold strip.
Gujarat – In Gujarati marriage traditions, the bride can only take the seven rounds around the fire after she has worn the ivory bangle given to her by her family.
Rajasthan – The bride’s hands are adorned with 52 ivory bangles called the ‘hathi daant ki churi’, as well as yellow, red, white, green and gold bangles.
Maharasthra – Glass bangles are considered auspicious in Marathi culture. The bride wears green bangles on her wedding day.
The wearing of choodis or bangles is an important aspect of Indian culture. To view our exclusive collection of choodis, visit Indian Wedding Saree.