In India, Hindu infants of both genders get their ears pierced as early as 12 days after birth or before their first birth day or third or fifth year (depending on region and local custom).
According to Legends The shape of the ear resembles the holy symbol ‘Aum’. It is believed that piercing the ear is just dotting the Aum. The ear is pierced by a priest during a holy ceremony (Karnavedha).
Karnavedha or the practice of wearing earrings is one of the Hindu Sanskars (sacraments) performed for a child. Karnavedha is a Vedic rite of passage. Common between male and females, it is intended to open the inner ears of the child for receiving sacred sounds. This rite has deep mystical and symbolic significance. It is believed that merely hearing sacred sounds has merit in that it cleanses sin and nurtures the spirit.
According Dharma sindhu, it must be done on the 10th, 12th or 16th day after birth of the child. If it is not possible to do on these days, it must be done on 6th or 7th month after birth. Even if this is not possible, it must be done on odd years and not on even years of the child. At least by the time of upanayana, one must have this done. The men must have the ear stud permanently after Upanayana (thread ceremony).
Since earliest times, wearing ear ornaments by married Indian women has been considered auspicious. Besides, earrings were considered to be a symbol of woman’s wealth and her status in society. Elongated ear lobes were considered a sign of beauty and wealth – the longer the lobe, the greater the woman’s wealth. By appending ornaments to almost every part of the ear, the woman also ensured a continuous state of mental and physical well being.
According to Acupressure Therapy, the meridians connecting the brain pass though this area. This is said to help in the quick development of the brain. Hence, the earlier the ears of the child are pierced, better the results will be. In certain Indian communities, even a boy’s ears are pierced.
Recent studies have identified the ear as a microcosm of the entire body. Some even say the point of vision in acupuncture is situated in the center of the lobe. Hence the practice of wearing earrings is thought to have some therapeutic value. Besides, in certain places, ear piercing was believed to be good for the eyes. It also sharpened the mind and drew off ‘bad humors’.
An earring can be described as a piece of jewelery that is worn on the ear.
According to Legends Ancient Prakrit and Sanskrit literature describe girls wearing fresh flowers in their ears. A range of floral earrings of gold, silver or precious stones that have been popular over the centuries in India suggest that the forms of flowers were translated into precious jewelry. A type of flower known as the karnphul, i.e., ‘ear-flowers’ is considered particularly auspicious. Karn Phools are an large, round metal flower-form earring, with a central stud at the back being the equivalent of a flower stem.
Scholars believe that the choice of the flower as the inspiring shape for earrings is not without significance. Flowers are considered natural erotic stimulants, by virtue of their association with Kama, the God of love, besides these are considered a concise symbol of nature, condensing into a brief span of time the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. In addition, flowers also reflects gentleness, youth, spiritual perfection and innocence, qualities which are but the fundamental attributes of feminine character.