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Jewelry in Punjabi Culture - enlivening the legacy

Sunday, 21 September 2008

punjabi jewelry The significance of jewelry is proverbial and primordial. Human's affinity towards adorning the body is innate and even before man discovered metals, they used wooden and other naturally available materials to embellish themselves. Jewelry has been with its distinctive place as well as value in all the cultures and when it's in the Indian society, it's something very precious in terms of its social, cultural, traditional and economic magnitude.

These days, diverse form of jewelry - traditional, ethnic, gold, silver, stones, gems etc - are in vogue throughout India but the traditional jewelry of several regions always top the choice lists. Different states in India produce some exclusive varieties of jewelry that represent the legacies and cultures of the regions. For example, the south is famous for its elaborate temple jewelry, the east always stands out for bedded jewelry, the west is the hub of some best quality mirror and stone jewelry and the north comes in when it's about marvelously carved and designed ornaments.

Imbibing from the rich heritage

Punjabi culture is among the most archaic as well as richest one in even the history of the world and the Punjabi people have preserved its distinguished heritage and customs with a deliberate care. Even in this 21st century their style and go of life is pretty closely allied with the Punjabi tradition. Perhaps, that has made the Punjabi culture flourish greatly and the word "Punjabi" is now a brand name worldwide. Among all its arts and crafts, jewelry holds a very special place in the Punjabi culture as in Punjabi wedding traditions as well as in important ceremonies jewelry receives a constant attention. At times, particularly in marriages, it stands to be a symbol of the honor and status of the families.

The nuptials showcase the treasure trove

So it's the marriages that bring out the full pool of ornament and jewelry of Punjabi culture. A Punjabi bride's wedding ornaments would inevitably include golden jewelry and bangles. As part of the bridal beautification, wonderful henna paintings are very common in all the classes. But the most important jewelry piece in Punjabi wedding is the Churha (wedding bangle). They have a separate ceremony with these bangles and in this Churha ceremony the maternal uncle (mama) of the bride adorns her wrists with a set of red and white bridal bangles; and from the ceremony these bangles have got their name Mama Churha. To add more charm to the churhas, light ornaments made of beaten silver and gold, called Kalira, are attached to these.

Besides, as part of the bridal decoration on the day of the wedding, the bride wears traditional heavy gold jewelry and a gleaming pendant called Tikka in the parting of the hair. A sweet, slim Nath prettifies the nose. After adding all the visual beauties, a pair of Nupurs round the ankles brings in the music that enlivens the beauty of the jewelry-laden bride.

In addition to the barrage of wedding jewelry, there are Punjabi bangles having great demand to woman of all ages. These match great with both plain as well as embroidered salwar-kameez, and sharara kurata (a popular Punjabi suit). These also go pretty trendy with the western attires - skirts, jeans, pants. These Punjabi bangles are those beautiful Punjabi ornaments that represent the rich, ingenious artifact of the Punjabi culture. These have become a pick of the litter for wedding receptions, marriage ceremonies and formal parties.

Social and economic wellbeing attached

Punjabi Jewelry is a very potent reflection of the culture of the land of five rivers. All the households, irrespective of social and economic status, preserve some collection of the traditional Punjabi jewelry for special occasions like weddings, Punjabi festivals, birthdays and so on. Even in the sacred books of many religions in India refers to the deities wearing ornaments. In Rig-Veda, Rudra is described as dressed in "adorable, uniform necklace" and "brilliant gold ornaments". Not just the deities, the demons also possessed bulk of jewels and gold which even the mythical kings and mystics wished for.

As in other parts of India and the subcontinent, jewelry has significant social and economic implications in Punjab. In one standpoint, it's a kind of investment and a saving for needs in emergency. Besides, jewelry has always been something pretty precious and dear to the women of Punjab. The jewelry given to the bride at the time of the marriage becomes her exclusively her own asset called Stridhan (woman's wealth). But in other respect, jewelry and precious stones have been a symbol of and a scale to measure wealth, power and aristocracy. People in Punjab attach high value to jewelry as specimens of their past heritage and domestic security. This has earned their native jewelry a prominent place in the Punjabi society and culture.


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Khadim Hussain  - Mr   |2011-09-29 02:22:15
Up to the 1920's in rural punjabi there was a traditional (as I've heard from stories)of the bride wearing solid silver braclets called 'kangans'. As anyone come across this and have any photos?
Would be most grateful for any help with this.
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