A single bangle worn by a man is called a Kada or Kara (steel or iron bangle). Kada is a circular shaped bangle having religious significance for Sikhs, and is made from iron, white metal or gold.Marriage – While girls in traditional Indian society are allowed to wear bangles, married women are generally expected to wear bangles. The jewelry is primarily associated with matrimony, signifying marriage in the same way that the Western wedding ring does. After the wedding, the woman continues to wear her bangles as a charm of safety and luck for her husband, and after a Hindu woman’s husband dies, she breaks her glass wedding bangles in an act of mourning.
Bangles and Honeymoon – During an Indian wedding, the bride tries to wear the smallest glass bangles. She is helped by her best friend or sister to do this using scented oil. It’s believed that smaller bangles symbolize a happy and loving marriage and a wonderful honeymoon.
Bangles and Husband and Luck – A married Indian woman is required to wear bangles (green or red depending on which region they belong to) on a day to day basis because bangles are symbolic of safety, marriage and luck for their husbands. Sudden breaking of glass bangles is considered a sign of danger or an unpleasant incident involving the husband.
Color and Meaning
Glass bangles hold different meanings according to their color. Some regions have specific bangles associated with their local traditions, and there is a more general color code for bangles as well. Red bangles symbolize energy, blue bangles symbolize wisdom and purple symbolizes independence. Green stands for luck or marriage and yellow is for happiness. Orange bangles mean success, white ones mean new beginnings and black ones mean power. Silver bangles mean strength, while gold bangles mean fortune.
In Gujarat and Rajasthan, the bride’s mother has to gift the bride a pair of ivory bangles. It is only on wearing these ivory bangles that the bridal couple can perform the ‘saptapati’; without the bangles, this ritual cannot be performed. (The saptapati is the seven steps that are taken around the fire, without which no Hindu marriage is considered complete).
Married women in Bengal have to wear the iron ‘kada’ (bangle) or ‘loha’ as it is commonly called, to signify marriage. In addition to this kada, the bride is presented with white conch bangles that are beautifully crafted and red lac bangles.
The South Indian ceremony called Valaikaapu occurs during the seventh month of a woman’s pregnancy. The family celebrates, and bangles of all colors and designs are stacked on the woman’s wrists. Once the ceremony is completed, the woman goes to her mother’s residence. There, she will deliver her child.