“Yes I’m Indian..” ” OH..like with the DOT!”
I’m sure this is a common phrase many Indians face. I know I have, we are differentiated as the “dot” Indians. I actually came across a paper I wrote in college from my communications class on why Indians wear Bindi’s. Little did I know at that time that one day I would be writing a blog on the topic and using my research! If there is one thing I would say, it’s go with the flow. Go with the step that feels right because you never know what amazing things God has in store for you that he is preparing you for!( Little did I know I would soon be turning my passion for India & culture into something bigger)
What is the true meaning behind a Bindi?Being Indian, I get asked that a lot, and I usually just say it was to differentiate Hindu’s back in the day or it started with married women and now its fashion for all women. However I really began to ponder upon this question, and then decided to do some real research on it. With society growing and changing so rapidly, for some people, the purpose and meaning behind Bindi’s has changed, and for some it will always remain the same.
According to an article written by Ram Lingam from the IndiaWest Paper, ” The area where the bindi is positioned is said to be the location of the subtle spiritual eye in the language of yoga, which is said to be the major nerve center in the human body.”
“When an Indian woman decorates her forehead with sindoor or bindi, she is just following a tradition that goes back at least 5,000 years. “ “The term “Bindi” is from the Sanskrit word Bindu meaning dot ” the first type or reason Indian Women wear a Bindi is to symbolize a married women
There are many types of Bindi’s; one is vermillion, which is used predominantly for married women. Vermillion is a red powder ,when applied to the center of the forehead at the parting, signifies “ One’s commitment, good fortune, one is united with one’s husband and he is your soul mate” ( Das) . At the time of marriage, one of the final steps is when the husband applies vermillion on the wife’s forehead, this symbolizes a married women, and every day after the wedding day the husband is supposed to apply vermillion the same way.
In addition to the vermillion, the married women is supposed to sport a red bindi as well, typically for daily wear it would be the large circular one, but on occasion women also wear the fancy ones.
It would almost be considered a sin if a married Indian woman does not wear a Bindi and Vermillion. Although now that Indians have spread out over the world, women do not always adorn themselves with a bindi or vermillion daily. However with traditional clothes they are generally expected to as part of the attire.
Although Vermillion or Sindhoor is for married women, unmarried women and young girls also wear Bindi’s
Traditionally the married women wear the red bindi’s, while the unmarried girls will wear colored ones ; now this tradition has started to fade in some parts of India with various influences. While the married women will wear the vermilion at the parting of their hair, the unmarried girls will put the same substance but just as a dot on their forehead, until they are married they are not allowed to wear it at the parting.
While earlier it was solely for Hindu women, now women of all religions will adorn a bindi when they wear the traditional Indian/eastern outfit. Now Bindi’s come in all different colors and sizes and are sold in stores as fashion jewelry and are decorated.
Bindi’s have a special meaning for every person. Some women see it as their symbol of marriage, while for some it’s a fashion item. For some it’s a mandatory part of their look and who they are, for some it’s not as important. It’s interesting to see the diversity among Indians and to observe the different aspects of culture people choose to keep by what it means to them.
But now the question is, as the Indian society modernizes Globally, is this 5000 year old tradition going to fade out of Indian culture?
Would love to hear your feedback on this!
“The Indian Girl”
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