As per Hindu culture and tradition, a girl is adorned with certain pieces of jewelry post-marriage which make her marital status obvious to the world. Just as the wedding ring is worn by many women, similarly, a Hindu girl is supposed to wear a ‘mangalsutra’, bangles, toe ring, nose ring and even apply a red bindi on the forehead to make her transition from a girl to a married woman as an adult. This new avatar even fetches respect for her in society as an individual capable of running a household which in turn is the microcosm of the society at large.
Mangalsutra is a word which has been derived from two words viz, mangal and sutra, the former meaning holy and the latter meaning thread. It is a special ceremony which is conducted on the day of the wedding when the groom ties it around the bride’s neck in a ceremony called Mandalyadharanam which gives the bride the status of being his wife and his life mate. Hence, the wife is expected to wear the mangalsutra for the rest of her life till her husband remains alive as a symbol of commitment, love, bonding, goodwill and faithful commitment.
The Mangalsutra is tied on the wedding day. Using turmeric paste, a yellow thread is prepared and tied around the bride’s neck with three knots as the Vedic mantras and hymns are chanted by the priest during the marriage ceremony. Later on, on an auspicious day, this Mangalsutra can be restrung together using one or two yellow threads or a gold chain with black beads and diamonds studded on it.
The Mangalsutra symbolizes different things in different parts of the country, it is even known by different names in different parts of the country like thaali’, ‘thaaly’, ‘pustelu’, ‘maangalyam’ or ‘mangalsutram’ in the southern states of India and ‘mangalsutra’ in the northern states. There exists a divine power in each black bead present in the Mangalsutra which protect the couple form evil eyes and even safeguards the husband’s life. It is considered to be quite ominous if the Mangalsutra tends to break or gets lost. Thus, the Mangalsutra is actually a sacred necklace which symbolizes love, trust and happiness in the marital status of a Hindu couple.
However, in the modern society and fast moving lives of the modern day women of the metropolis, where women are no more confined to the four walls of the house, the concept of wearing a Mangalsutra has changed drastically. It is rarely seen working women wearing a mangalsutra on their fashionable trendy outfits. Even the style and make of the mangalsutra has changed drastically these days. In olden days, people used to wear elaborate and heavy mangalsutras but these days it has been taken over by short, sleek and single string ones with small designer diamond pendants. However, the presence of the black beads continues to ward off evil and uphold the sanctity of their marriage.
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