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Solah Shringar - The 16 Adornments of a Hindu Bride
Solah Shringar of a Hindu Bride
Every Bride wants to look like a princess on her Wedding Day. Solah shringar refers to the sixteen adornments of a Bride (Woman) for beautification. Solah Shringar is especially important for an Indian bride on the most significant day of her life. Different kinds of beauty rituals are associated with the wedding day. In India, the beautification of the bride consists of sixteen parts and covers almost every part of the body right from the head to the toe. The Solah Shringar ritual is said to correspond to the sixteen phases of the moon which has a negative effect on the woman’s menstrual cycle. Solah Shringar is said to nullify this effect. The term shringar is also associated with Goddess Lakshmi, who is a model wife and the representation of female beauty, good luck, prosperity and fertility.
Solah Shringar is representation of femininity and our culture. The bride’s solah shringar starts from the top with her hair and ends at her toe. Solah shringar (literally meaning sixteen decorations) is traditionally marked by the sixteen items of cosmetics and jewelry. Female relatives and friends of the bride participate in the process of adorning her.
16 beautification processes of the Bride
- The Shringar of the bride normally starts with the Bride wearing the wedding dress. Red colored wedding sari richly embroidered with gold threads is considered the most auspicious for Hindu weddings. However the choice can also be other bright bridal colors like maroon, gold, magenta or green and comprises of saree, lehenga and salwar kurta.
- The Brides hair is then styled and adorned with flowers and jewelry. After that makeup is done on her face. Her face is powdered, the cheeks are rouged and lipstick is applied.
- The eyes are highlighted with Kajal or kohl to make it more attractive and appealing.
- After that the Bindi which has a strong religious implication and is a sacred symbol of a married woman is put on the bride’s forehead and decorated with red and white dots around it and along the eyebrows.
- A hair accessory called Maangtika is worn on the central parting of the hair of the bride mostly made out of gold and embellished with semi precious stones, pearls or diamonds.
- The Bride is made to wear the Nose Ring making her look traditional and ethnic. This ring is made of gold with pearls or other precious gems and is worn on the left nostril and is supported by a gold chain, which extends just behind left ear.
- Ear rings adorn the ears of the bride. Since the ear rings worn by bride are quite heavy they are normally supported by a gold chain passing over the crown of the head.
- Necklaces and chains of different lengths which is usually made of gold and embellished with diamonds, pearls or other precious stones are also worn by the bride. Mangalsutra which is worn around the neck is tied by the groom during the wedding rituals.
- Baajuband or armlets are worn on the upper arms of the bride over the sari blouse.
- Mehendi is another significant shringar of the bride which is applied on the bride's hands and feet in a special pre-wedding ritual in India.
- The Bride wears bangles or bracelets made of gold, glass or other metals depending upon the custom.
- A bride wears eight rings in both her hands, which are attached with a central flower or medallion that covers the upper part of the hand called hathphulor.
- Kamarband is a beautifully designed gold or silver belt is worn around the waist of the bride studded mostly with beautiful gems. The belt not just enhances the waist area but also helps in holding the Sari or Dress in place.
- Silver anklets are worn on the ankles of the bride and toes are adorned with toe rings made of silver. The feet are also decorated. In some regions a thick red line is drawn along the outer border of the foot. In other areas, mehandi designs are applied to the feet.
- And finally itar or fragrance is applied on to the bride to keep her fresh and smelling good.
- Sindoor is applied on the central parting of the hair during the wedding ceremony.
However a lot of changes have happened to the ritual of Solah Shringar over the years as many brides prefer a minimalist look or can’t afford such jewelry. But some of these adornments make a fashion statement even now.