The mangalsutra is more than just a piece of jewelry. In fact, it is very sacred and an integral part of a Hindu marriage when the groom ties it around the bride’s neck. The mangalsutra is known by many different names throughout the different states of India. It is known as a Thaali in the South and mangalsutra in the North. It is a token of dignity and love given to a bride by her groom. The most common type is made with two strands of black beads.
A Hindu married woman will wear this around her neck until her husband’s death. This sacred thread is a symbol of love and goodwill. Mangalsutra means auspicious thread or cord. Mangalsutras are made in various designs. They very between different cultures. If the marriage is arranged, the pattern is usually chosen by the groom’s family according to their customs. Gujaratis and Marwaris often choose a diamond pendant. Whereas, Maharashtrians wear a pendant of one or two vatis. Bengalis often have coral added to their designs.
Mangalya Dharanam (wearing the mangalya) is the most important part of the Hindu wedding ceremony. The mangalya is strung on a yellow thread made of turmeric paste. It is tied around the bride’s neck with three knots. In some families, the groom ties the first and his sisters the rest. Later it may be restrung on some auspicious days.
The mangalsutra is a token of dignity and love given to a bride by her groom. It is believed to have divine powers. The black beads signify protection from evil powers. They are believed to protect the marriage of the couple and essentialy the life of the husband.
The mangalsutra may have changed over time and is now worn more as an adornment but it has more meaning than just a piece of jewelery. Many women no longer wear it on a daily basis due to modernization. However, the mangalsutra symbolizes the real essence and concept of a Hindu marriage.
[photo credits: radheygoldchain.com, ninajeweler.com, pramukhjewellers.com, flickr.com]