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For every girl, her wedding day is the culmination of all her hopes and dreams, the start of a new chapter of her life. Donning the bridal attire she visualizes of being the best possible reflection of herself. Wedding is the occasion where a girl as an individual makes transition into a hitherto new space in a completely new role, so she has to look her best on her special day. And when it comes to Indian bride, she is adorned from head to toe with solah shringars to complete her quintessential look. The Solah Shringar or the 16 beauty ornaments is a ritual that has been part of Indian culture ever since ages. The 16 beauty ornaments are meant to celebrate the beauty and divinity of female forms.
According to Indian mythology “Solah Shringars” signifies the sixteen phases of the moon which is related to a women’s menstrual cycle. The 16 beauty ornaments are said to nullify the negativities that arise from the cycle. Solah shringar a symbol of a woman’s marital status are mandatory elements in a bride’s ensemble where each ornament is symbolic of a blessing. Adorned with the Solah Shringars a bride is associated with the divinity Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity and fertility. Indian folklores like Ramayan, Mahabharat, romantic treatises like ‘Abhigyanam Shakuntalam’ , ‘Kumarsambhavam’ have improvised upon the enchanting charm of female protagonist. The significance of Solah Shringar is that enhances the beauty of a woman.
According to Indian culture women are embodiments of Shakti-the female power and it is the ornaments that orifices and controls the power and aura emanated from the body of Shakti. There is no definitive agreement over which legend is to be believed but the 16 beauty ornaments that enhance the bride’s beauty do have scientific reasons for them. Here are 16 scientific reasons behind wearing the solah shringars that we have garnered from around the web. So dear brides to-be read on to discover more about the elating procedure of the ‘Solah Shringar’.
Before being adorned with the 16 customary adornments a bride has to go through the ceremony of pre-shringar or the ceremonial divine bath. The ceremony although a pampering one is all about massaging the bride’s hair with aromatic oil followed by washing it with a mix of herbs like rahmi, Shikakai, Aloe Vera, Amla, etc. The hair pampering session is accompanied by the application of organic scrub known as Ubtan on the face, hands, arms and legs of the bride. The ‘Ubtan’ is a paste made from Turmeric, Sandalwood, Milk and Saffron and is said to provide the bride with a radiant and aromatic skin. After the divine bath the bride’s hair is dried and fragranced with aromatic incense sticks followed by tying it in a bun or hairstyle that matches her outfit. It is after the divine bath that the bride is draped in her wedding outfit and the elating procedure of her Solah Shringar starts. The traditional belief behind this ceremony is that it wards off the evil that can cause harm to the couple.
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Scientific Reason: The scientific logic behind the application of the ‘Ubtan’ is that Turmeric known as the ‘wonder herb’ kills the bacteria in the skin. Herbs have their own medicinal properties and application of them on the body during the process nourishes the skin. The medicinal effect of turmeric moisturizes the skin making it to appear soft, supple and radiant.
Bindi is an ornamental dot that is placed at the center of the forehead between the eyebrows and is said to be an additional beauty element that hones up a brides look. The bindi signifies to bring good luck and prosperity to bride and is elaborated with dot and vine motifs of plain kumkum or sandalwood paste along the eyebrow.
Scientific Reason: The bindi is placed at the centre of forehead which is a major nerve point of the human body also known as the place of the third eye. The third eye is said to provide the ability of seeing the future. Science states that the centre of the forehead improves focus and helps in exuding energy. During mediatation energy also known as Kundalini rises from the base of the spine and travels till the third eye. The third eye spot is the commanding centre of the body and helps in maintaining mental balance. During the stressful time of wedding a bindi and sandalwood dots around the eyebrows helps the bride in keeping her calm when all around her are losing theirs.
Sindoor or vermillion hold a great importance in the Indian society as it signifies a husbands long life.The customary sindoor is applied on the parting of the hair of the bride by the groom on the day of the wedding. A marital symbol worn by married Indian women for her lifetime is and denotes her desire for her husband’s longevity and well being.
Scientific Reason: Sindoor made with the composition of turmeric, lime, and a minute level of mercury is said to have its own health benefits. Applied on the partition of hair, the presence of mercury relaxes the mind and cools down the body of the woman. Sindoor also acts as a trigger for sexual drive in a woman.
Maang tikka is also known as Bhor, Borla, or Mang Patti. It is made of gold, silver and precious gemstones and is a hair accessory that adorns the forehead of the bride. Worn at the central parting of hair and extending till the forehead, the maang tikka is said to highlight the allure of the bride. The Rajasthani brides wear a Borla whereas Maharastrian brides wear a Mandoria made of a strand of pearls and both are equivalent of Maang Tika.
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Scientific Reason: The mang tika is worn on the central parting as it controls the heat of the body. The Ajna Chakra which means ‘to know or percieve’ is located in the centre part of the forehead. It is the spot where the pendant of the maang tika falls. The Ajna chakra represented by two petals signifies the unification of the male and female form on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.
Kajal a black dye or eyeliner made out of the soot from diya is applied on the upper and lower rims of the eyelids. The black soot mixed with aromatic essential oils is said to enhance the size and shape of the eye. The eyes are the mirror of the soul that reflects the feelings of the heart and application of Kajal adds a glint of mystery to the look of the bride.
Scientific Reason: Kajal is known for its cooling effect helps in relaxing the eyes during the strain received from weddings ceremonies. It also acts as a protective shield against the dust particles, keeping the eyes active and glowing. Kajal also has healing properties and can reduce red spot in the eye.
Nath or nose ring is worn for attaining a traditional and ethnic look. Made of gold or silver and a cluster of pearls and gemstones like diamonds the nath is a precious beauty ornament. It is worn on a piercing in the left nostril. The Nose Ring size differs from place to place somewhere it might be as large as a bangle and somewhere it can be just be a nose pin. In some parts of India like Maharashtra the women wear a distinct style of the nose pin known as ‘guchhedar nath’ which is made of small pearl beads and colorful stones. The nose ring attached with a chain is worn by women on auspicious occasions. A symbol of marital status the Nose Ring is considered as a mark of beauty and social standing.
Scientific Reason: The nose piercing has Ayurvedic significance in which the spot of the piercing is linked to the reproductive organs of a woman. The nose piercing is said to ease menstrual cramps and labour pains. The piercing also controls brain wavelength and prevents the women from getting hypnotized.
Popularly known as Jhumkas, Danglers, Karn Phool, Chandbalis the earrings are an indispensable beauty ornament for a woman. Ear rings are ornately decorated jewellery that are made of gold and silver and embedded with diamond, kundan, and other precious gemstones. Often the ear rings have elaborate ear cuffs and chains that hang from the lobe and end with a decorated pendant. Karn phool is associated with Karn the god of love and wearing it is said to enhance the fundamental attributes like gentleness, spiritual perfection of the female form.
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Scientific reason: The outer part of the ear where the ear ring is worn is an acupressure point. Wearing ear ring has acupuncture effect and helps in curing menstrual problems. The acupressure point of the ear helps in keeping the kidney and bladder healthy.
The Necklace or Haar is a chain that is worn by the bride around her neck and it acts as the centerpiece of the bridal outfit. The embellished Indian jewellery is available in multiple varieties like Kundan, Meenakari, Filgree, Jadau and a lot more. One of the most essential necklace is the mangalsutra that is made of black and gold beads adorned with a pendant embedded with gemstones and diamonds. A mangalsutra is worn a symbol of love and symbolizes the longevity of the husband.
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Scientific Reason: The necklace worn around the neck helps in regularizing the blood circulation and also helps in controlling the blood pressure of the women.
Henna is an indigenous herb that is blended into a fine paste and is applied on the hands and feet of bride. The elaborate mehendi designs impart a deep red color which symbolizes love, luck, prosperity and fertility. The deeper and richer the color the more love would be showered upon the bride by her husband and her in-laws. Indian weddings have a ceremony known as mehendi that celebrates the application of mehendi on the bride amidst music and dance. It is a custom that during this ceremony, the groom’s initials are made in the mehendi designs.
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Scientific Reason: Mehendi has a cooling effect and destresses the nerves and helps in relieving them.It cools down the body and heals cuts and bruises.
Armband or bajuband is an ornament that is worn on the upper arms by the brides. Made of gold or silver and embellished with gemstones; the custom of wearing a bajuband is more common in Rajasthan and South India. The bajuband a beauty ornament is considered as a symbol of wealth, social status, prosperity and success. It is believed that the bajuband wards off the negative influence and evil eye and also helps in resolving financial problems of the house.
Scientific Reason: The armband helps in regulating the blood circulation of the arms. It also helps in creating the right amount of resistance that helps in relaxing the arms.
Bangles are traditional adornments that accompany a bride’s attire. Made of gold, silver, lac, ivory, glass and studded with gemstones bangles are symbolic of the marital status of the woman. The bangles signify prosperity, good fortune and the well being of the husband. Across the different states of India bangles are made of different materials. Bengali brides wear Shakha Pola and Loha which is made of shells, lac and iron whereas Punjabi brides wear red and white chudas made of ivory that are stone studded and attached to a Kalire. Irrespective of the place a bride is deemed incomplete without a bangle. Traditionally breaking of glass or lac bangles is considered inauspicious and upon the death of a husband ceremonial bangle breaking is observed.
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Scientific Reason: The tingling sound of the bangles enhances the grace of the bride and the material of the bangle according to science helps in strengthening the bones of the hand. The friction created by the materials, enables the qualities and properties of the bangle to enter the body and strengthens the bones.
The hathphool is a jewellery worn on the hands of the bride to enhance the beauty of her hands. The hathphool comprises of four or five rings that is attached with a chain which has a central floral motif or medallion. Often the hath phool also has a left thumb ring that has a mirror on it which is known as Aarsi and enables the bride to catch a glimpse of her husband from her veil. The hathphool is made of gold and adorned with kundan work and studded with precious stones. Each ring of the hathphool represents a goddess who is believed to protect the bride and her family in the time of need. The hathphool signifies the bonds of matrimony
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Scientific Reason: The rings of the hathphool is said to stimulate brain activity. The metallic friction attained from the rings is said to promote good health of the wearer and it also induces confidence and relaxation.
Kamarband or waistband is an elaborate ornament that enhances the graceful shape of the females. Waistband is made of gold and silver adorned with gems and is used for keeping the sari in place.
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Scientific Reason: Kamarbandh helps in regulating menstrual cycle and also provides relief during the menstrual cramps. A silver waistband is said to help in controlling belly fat.
Anklets also known as payal are chains with little chiming bells that are worn around the ankle. Anklets are made of silver and usually come with a slender chain or a thick multi-layered design. A bride wearing anklets is regarded as an incarnation of goddess Lakshmi. The anklets cannot be made of gold as wearing gold in feet is considered as inauspicious.
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Scientific Reason: Anklets provide relief from Sciatica which is a pain that arises due to weakness in legs. It also is said to help in blood circulation and helps in curing swollen heels. Wearing anklets also boosts immunity and aids in curing menstrual diseases, hormonal imbalance, infertility and obstetrics.
Toe ring also known as bichhiya is worn on the feet. It is made silver studded with stones and is gifted by mother-in-law to the bride. Toe ring is supposed to enhance the fertility of a married woman.
Scientific Reason: The toe ring is usually worn on the second finger of the feet, the blood vessels of which is connected to the uterus and heart. The toe ring aids in regulation of the blood flow and maintaining the menstrual cycle. The bichhiya helps in maintaining the reproductive health and the fertility of married women and also lower the risk of miscarriage.
Keshapasharachana stands for hair adornment. After the divine bath the hair of the bride is dried and fragranced with aromatic sticks and is tied in braids or a bun and is adorned with flowers. The hair accessory is an integral part of a bride’s makeover. Usually flowers like Jasmine and Bel are the most preferred hair adornment accessory but in some parts of India roses and marigold is also used.
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Scientific Reason: The queen of flowers, Jasmine has a long lasting fragrance and freshness. The fragrance helps attracting the opposite sex. The arrangement of a gajra on a bride’s hair helps her in staying refreshed for the entire day.
The bridal dress is also known as the ‘suhag ka joda’ is the most important element in a bride’s attire. The traditional bridal outfits includes saree, lehenga and salwar suit. The bridal dress differs across the various cultures of India. The most preferred color of the outfit is red although modern brides now also opt for pink, blue, yellow and orange colors. The outfit is heavily embroidered with beads and works of zari. The outfit is symbolic of a happily ever after and ensures the well being of the couple.
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Scientific Reason: According to Indian mythology Red is considered as an auspicious color that signifies love and well being. The veil an important part of a bride’s outfit is symbolic for modesty, youth and virginity.
India is the land of diversity and the diversity gives rises to numerous cultures, rituals and customs. The rituals are beliefs that have been passed down to us from our ancestors. The customs and rituals have some superstitious beliefs attached to them. But every Indian culture has a scientific reason behind it which explains the reason behind its existence. These were scientific reasons behind the concept of solah shringar. If you know about any other scientific reason that justifies the purpose of solah shringars then tell us in the comments below. Also let us know if we have missed out on any other solah shringar belief. We would love to hear it from you.
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BY Aayush Pareek | 16 Feb, 2019
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