Ancient Greeks and Romans wore bracelets to signify power and authority! But...
Jewelry is incredibly important in Indian culture, and almost every piece of Indian jewelry has its own historic, cultural, or religious significance. From bangles to the famous mangalsutra necklace, jewelry can be used for a myriad of reasons, whether it be to signal prosperity, wealth, marriage, or to ward off evil energies.
One jewelry item that we don’t hear much about is the Indian ring; while the ring plays a significant role in Christian and Western societies, many may be under the impression that its significance is limited in Indian culture. This isn’t the case! And in this blog, we’re going to explore the various symbolic meanings of the Indian ring, from its romantic significance to the spiritual side of things. Let’s take a look!
What do Indian rings symbolize?
In Hinduism, rings can be worn on both the toes and the fingers to symbolize the married woman’s marital status. However, it’s also important to note that Indian rings are also worn commonly as a way to accessorize the body; the rings may be adorned with precious stones, metals, or intricate designs, and are worn as a form of statement jewelry.
Indian ring symbolism
So, what else do Indian rings represent? Let’s take a look.
While Indian men don’t tend to wear wedding bands to signify their married status, some do wear rings that represent astrological symbolism. This originates in the Indian alternative medicine known as Ayurveda; according to theory, certain gemstones represent different energies, and these energies can be channeled by wearing rings adorned with certain precious metals and gemstones.
While traditional rings are not exchanged during Indian wedding ceremonies in the same way as they are in Western countries, this doesn’t mean that Indian women don’t get to enjoy diamonds around their fingers on their special day! Rather than wearing a single wedding band, Indian women wear a hand accessory known as a haath phool, which translates to “‘flower of the hand.” A haath phool can be worn for any special occasion, whether it be a birthday, a family member’s marriage ceremony, or a religious festival.
Additionally, rings may also be placed on the Indian bride’s toes during a traditional wedding ceremony; a 22 carat gold ring is a popular choice for all bridal rings, with 22k gold also being popular for all other bridal jewelry items; being both durable and materially valuable, 22k gold represents a worthy investment.
Health and wellness
Aside from the romantic and spiritual symbolism associated with finger rings, many Indian women also wear rings on their toes. This is for two reasons; one, this displays her status as a married woman. And two, according to the Vedas (a historical religious text in India) pressure points exist in our toes that can help to regulate our internal functions; Indian women therefore wear toe rings to regulate their menstrual cycle, increase their chances of falling pregnant, and improve blood flow to the uterus.
The bottom line
From spirituality to romanticism, there are many reasons that rings are worn in Indian culture; while their uses aren’t exactly the same as that of their Western counterparts, rings still carry a great deal of symbolism in India. Whether it’s as a statement piece or worn to display marital status, rings are incredibly meaningful and important to Indian culture.
Do Indian people wear engagement rings?
The Western custom of wearing an engagement ring is not a standard practice in Indian culture. That being said, many younger Indians are now choosing to participate in this tradition, especially those living in Europe and the United States.
Why do Indians wear rings on their right hand?
Indians wear rings on the right hand as the left hand is considered impure, and some even believe that to be born left-handed is a bad omen.
Why do Indian women wear toe rings?
Aside from displaying her marital status, toe rings are also thought to improve a woman’s menstrual cycle, as the toes contain certain pressure points. Toe rings can also be placed on the Indian bride’s feet during her wedding ceremony.
Do Indian women wear wedding rings?
In traditional Indian wedding ceremonies, rather than wear a single wedding band, the bride wears a necklace known as a mangalsutra. The mangalsutra necklace is typically made with a gold chain and brown beads, and is worn to signify the union of the married couple, and represents the bride’s transition from her family to her husband’s family.