Although historical evidence dates bangles back to 40,000 years, with similar variations in many different civilizations, no one rocks bangles as famously and as fashionably as desi girls!
Bangles have been the preferred South Asian accessory for over 5,000 years – with its cultural importance spanning across the Indian subcontinent. Even my father talks about the bangles his aajee (paternal grandmother) wore that filled her entire arm with gold – hidden during her journey from India to Guyana to avoid being stolen.
Mostly associated with matrimony, Chudis, as pronounced in Hindi, signify good fortune, fertility, and prosperity. In Hindu weddings, ornate bangles are worn to represent the longevity of one’s husband. In the Punjabi tradition, red and white glass bangles, known as choodas, are gifted to the bride by her by her mama (maternal uncle) and must be worn consistently for a period of time after the wedding.
As with everything in South Asian culture, every little factor of wearing bangles has some sort of significance to one’s wellbeing. From the color, to the material, and even the number of bangles a woman wears has a consequence. For instance, the colors can affect the type of energy one brings into their life; red symbolizing energy, green for creativity, and blue for wisdom. Gold bracelets obviously display the fortune of one’s family, while glass bangles can ward off negative energy with their vibrations. Some cautionary articles even claim bad luck on the family if bangles are worn in odd numbers or purchased on a Saturday or Tuesday. Either way, their warnings were not daunting enough to scare modernization and mainstream Bollywood from making bangles so popular that it is now regarded as inauspicious for even unmarried girls to be bare armed.
Bangles have transformed from flimsy and simple rainbow-colored plastics to magnificent collections of beading and stone embellishments. Today, we buy our bangles stacked by the dozen, matching them to our outfits, and use every holiday or occasion as an excuse to purchase more.
The latest trend is thread bangles, wrapped in vibrant silk or fabrics. Together with elaborate stonework, thread bangles offer a modern twist on a classic design – and even more matching possibilities than ever before. A little #indiabythread tip I encourage is for the mixing of thread, plastic, and metal bangles sets together to create an interesting new twist to your sparkle.