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The True Significance of Bangles for Women in Indian Culture

  • by Prince Kundra
The True Significance of Bangles for Women in Indian Culture

Bangles, a quintessential element of Indian culture, hold a profound significance in the lives of Indian women. These circular ornaments, often made from a variety of materials such as gold, silver, glass, wood, and plastic, are not just mere accessories but are laden with cultural, social, and spiritual meanings. This article delves into the true significance of bangles in Indian culture, exploring their historical roots, symbolic meanings, and the role they play in various aspects of a woman's life.

What are Bangles?

Bangle! More than just a bracelet, bangles are colourful, rigid ornaments worn on the wrists, with a rich history dating back thousands of years. Traditionally made from glass, metal, or wood, they adorn the arms of women in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and beyond.  Bangles hold cultural significance, especially in India, where they symbolise marital status and add a vibrant touch to traditional dress. Worn singly or stacked in dazzling displays, bangles are a beautiful and enduring part of global adornment.

Historical Roots of Bangles in Indian Culture

Ancient Origins

The tradition of wearing bangles dates back to ancient times. Archaeological findings from the Indus Valley Civilization (circa 2600-1900 BCE) reveal that women wore bangles made from various materials. Excavations in Mohenjo-Daro have unearthed bronze and terracotta bangles, indicating that these ornaments were not only prevalent but also significant in ancient society.

Evolution Through Dynasties

Throughout Indian history, the design and significance of bangles have evolved. During the Gupta Empire, bangles became more ornate and were often studded with precious stones. In the Mughal era, the influence of Persian aesthetics led to the creation of intricately designed bangles. Each dynasty brought its unique touch, enhancing the cultural richness associated with these ornaments.

Symbolic Meanings of Bangles

Significance in Marriage

In Indian culture, bangles are deeply associated with marriage. They are considered a symbol of a woman's marital status. Traditionally, married women wear glass bangles, which are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity to the husband and the family. The sound of bangles is also considered auspicious, believed to attract positive energy and ward off evil spirits.

Wedding Rituals

Bangles play a crucial role in various wedding rituals across India. For instance, in Punjabi weddings, the bride is adorned with red and white bangles called chooda, which are gifted by her maternal uncle. These bangles are worn for a specified period as a symbol of her newly married status. In Maharashtrian weddings, the bride wears green glass bangles symbolising fertility and prosperity.

Festivals and Celebrations

During festivals like Diwali, Eid, and Karva Chauth, women often wear new bangles to complement their festive attire. Bangles are not just ornamental but carry religious significance. For example, during Karva Chauth, married women wear red bangles and fast for the long life of their husbands. The act of adorning oneself with bangles during such festivals is believed to invoke blessings and ensure the well-being of the family.

Cultural Identity and Regional Variations

India's vast cultural diversity is reflected in the variety of bangles worn across different regions. Each state has its unique style and tradition related to bangles.

Bengali Shakha Pola

In Bengal, married women wear shakha pola, which are white and red bangles made from conch shell and coral. These bangles are symbolic of marital bliss and are an integral part of Bengali bridal attire.

Rajasthani Lac Bangles

In Rajasthan, lac bangles are popular. These are made from lacquer and are often vibrant and embellished with intricate designs. Rajasthani women wear these bangles not only for their aesthetic appeal but also because they are believed to bring good luck.

South Indian Gold Bangles

In South India, gold bangles are predominant. Known for their intricate craftsmanship, these bangles are often passed down as family heirlooms. They represent wealth and social status and are considered a crucial part of a woman’s jewellery collection.

Spiritual and Health Beliefs

Aura and Energy

In many parts of India, bangles are believed to have spiritual significance. The circular shape of bangles represents the concept of eternity and the cyclical nature of life. They are thought to regulate the energy flow within the body, maintaining a balance that promotes well-being. The gentle sound of clinking bangles is said to enhance positive vibrations in the environment.

Health Benefits

Traditionally, it is believed that wearing bangles can have health benefits. In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, it is suggested that the friction between the wrist and the bangle can help improve blood circulation. Moreover, certain materials used in bangles, such as copper, are believed to have therapeutic properties.

Modern-Day Significance and Fashion

Blend of Tradition and Modernity

In contemporary times, bangles continue to be a significant part of Indian fashion. Designers blend traditional designs with modern aesthetics, creating pieces that appeal to both the young and the old. Bangles are now available in a plethora of styles, catering to various tastes and preferences.

Statement of Empowerment

For many modern Indian women, wearing bangles is also a statement of empowerment and cultural pride. They represent a connection to their heritage and a celebration of their identity. In professional settings, women often pair traditional bangles with modern attire, symbolising a blend of tradition and progressiveness.

Bollywood and Media Influence

Bollywood, India's vibrant film industry, has played a significant role in popularising bangles. Iconic scenes featuring heroines wearing bangles have left a lasting impact on popular culture. Songs and dances revolving around bangles continue to enthral audiences, keeping the tradition alive and vibrant.

 Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q: Why are bangles important for married women in Indian culture?

A: Bangles symbolise marital status and are believed to bring good fortune, prosperity, and protect against evil spirits. They are integral to various wedding rituals, representing the blessings and well-being of the husband and family.

Q: What materials are commonly used to make bangles in India?

A: Bangles in India are made from a variety of materials including gold, silver, glass, wood, and plastic. Each material holds its own significance and is chosen based on cultural, regional, and personal preferences.

Q: How do different regions in India vary in their bangle traditions?

A: Different regions have unique bangle traditions. For example, Bengali women wear shakha pola (conch and coral bangles), Rajasthani women prefer lac bangles, and South Indian women often adorn gold bangles, each symbolising cultural identity and regional beliefs.

Q: Do bangles have any health benefits according to traditional beliefs?

A: Yes, traditional beliefs, particularly in Ayurveda, suggest that wearing bangles can improve blood circulation due to the friction on the wrist. Additionally, materials like copper used in bangles are believed to have therapeutic properties.

Q: How have modern fashion trends influenced the tradition of wearing bangles?

A: Modern fashion trends have incorporated traditional bangle designs with contemporary aesthetics. Designers create versatile pieces that appeal to various tastes, allowing women to blend cultural heritage with modern style, often using bangles as a statement of empowerment and identity.


The significance of bangles for women in Indian culture transcends mere aesthetics. They are a rich tapestry of tradition, symbolism, and cultural identity. From their ancient origins to their modern interpretations, bangles continue to be cherished as a symbol of beauty, spirituality, and social status. Whether worn as a mark of marital status, a fashion statement, or a spiritual talisman, bangles hold a special place in the hearts of Indian women, reflecting the timeless beauty and diversity of Indian culture.

Shop now and adorn yourself with the beauty and grace of Indian culture. Don't miss out—add these stunning bangles to your collection today!


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