Tieing the mangalsutra is a sacred custom in Hindu marriages. A gold mangalsutra is a beaded necklace in black and gold with a gold or diamond pendant. Mangalsutra is extremely important in Hindu weddings and in the lives of Hindu married women. During the wedding rites, the groom ties it around the bride’s neck. It is a sign of marriage and is worn by the bride until the death of her spouse.
The word mangalsutra translates as ‘auspicious thread or cord,’ where ‘mangal’ means auspicious, and ‘sutra’ means thread or cord. Although it appears to be a piece of jewelry, it is much more than that.
Putting on the Mangalsutra
The Mangalsutra is more than just a piece of jewelry that a woman wears; it is one of the three most important ‘Soubagyalankar’ (Soubhagya = marital status as married; alankar = ornament), an ornament that tells the world that the wearer is a married lady. Initially, the mangalsutra was only a simple yellow thread colored with turmeric paste to which the pendant or ‘Tanmaniya’ was connected. Subsequently, black and gold beads were interwoven on this sacred thread. Finally, during the marriage ceremony, her husband wraps the mangalsutra around the woman’s neck.
Mangalsutras are typically lengthy and reach a woman’s chest, but in certain forms, they are worn around the neck like a necklace. It usually ends with a pendant made of gold or gold and diamonds. As long as her spouse is alive, the woman is not supposed to part with her mangalsutra. Widows are required to throw away mangalsutras and other marriage-related jewelry, known as ‘soubhagya.’ If the mangalsutra thread breaks for whatever reason, it is considered a bad omen.
Her husband’s name primarily determines a woman’s identity in Indian society. A woman is not considered a viable member of a family if she does not have a husband. Widows in India continue to face social stigmas such as prejudice and humiliation. Being married, even if it is a happy marriage, is a significant accomplishment for a woman, and protections must be put in place to protect it from evil intentions and negative energies aimed to ruin the pleasure.
The protection extends to the husbands’ lives, and the mangalsutra is believed to protect his well-being. It is designed to keep him safe from accidents and other catastrophes.
Mangalsutra – Fashion Factor
Mangalsutra has grown from a traditional and necessary Hindu married women’s adornment to a proud fashion statement. The pendant’s design has seen the most alterations. From simple gold round cup-like shapes, it has witnessed the addition of numerous current design features as well as experiments with various metals and precious stones.
Aside from 22k gold, popular mangalsutra patterns have been produced using 18k gold in multiple textures, platinum, and numerous alloys. The use of diamonds is prevalent these days, and most brides prefer them over pure gold pendants. The diamond mangalsutra incorporates geometric patterns and even alphabets in addition to the traditional leaf and floral themes.
As more women enter the professional sector, they are competing for positions that were formerly deemed male-dominant. They are also leaving their hometowns and beginning to live in more cosmopolitan environs, as well as traveling to foreign nations. As a result, they have to part ways with the mangalsutra and other jewels to meet professional expectations for specified attires, such as compulsory uniforms.
Despite these constraints, modern Indian women are discovering new methods to incorporate the gold mangalsutra into their modern clothes by changing the make and selecting for sleeker designs in order to stay true to their traditional history.
Thus, with modernization and changes in lifestyle, the designs of mangalsutras are changing women finding different ways to incorporate shows how timeless it is and its significance.