Bangles: Pakistan

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Bangles: A Traditional Adornment

By Farzana Ali Khan



Eid is approaching and preparations are in full force. Every one is eager to celebrate Eid in somewhat different way than before. With the arrival of Eid, where there is merriment everywhere, the market’s atmosphere is at its bloom too. The vendors and the shopkeepers decorate their handcarts and shops respectively, in order to attract more and more customers.

People, especially children, are eagerly thronging the markets to buy their Eid dress, shoes and other accessories. Boys though do not have much option to adorn them; their only choice is to select shalwar qameez or matching pant shirt. But as far as the girls are concerned, they have various choices in front of them. Different designs and styles of dresses with matching shoes and jewellery is a dream of every young girl.

Bangles are a special traditional ornament worn by women in the East but in particular in South Asia. It is one of the most common jewellery items worn by almost all females of all ages on special occasions like wedding, Eid and other festivals.

Bangles were also in use in ancient times as bangles made from shell, copper, bronze, gold etc. have been excavated from multiple archaeological sites.

These days various types of bangles are available in the market, in different colours, designs and shapes, and made from different materials. Of course, the most durable and expensive of these is the gold bangles which have their own elegance and charm, and the least durable is the glass bangle. Every woman has a desire of wearing gold bangles around her arms. Because they are more durable many women prefer wearing gold bangles for day-to-day life and glass bangles for special occasions.

Glass bangles coated with glitter and with ghungroo hanging to them are liked the most by young girls. Among the recent entrants are the rubber bangles that are worn more like a wristband by youngsters while the plastic ones are there to add a trendy look.

Bangles have a very sentimental value. In fact, to a woman bangle is not only an ornament it is also an important part of womanhood. Bangles are an important part of our culture and tradition. They enhance the elegance of every young girl; a wrist adorned with bangles has a charm of its own. A gift of bangles given by friend or lover conveys the message of love and compassion.

Bangles have various traditional and cultural values attached to them in various societies. For instance, they have a very traditional value in Hindu society as it is considered inauspicious to be bare armed. Hindu women (married) are always wearing some bangles around their wrist. In the Thar region there is a tradition of wearing white colour glass bangles from wrist up to the top of the arms. Pathan women like to wear a different kind of bangles known as gajras with a pointed design from the top. However, there are some families that consider wearing bangles of a particular colour like green as inauspicious.

Whatever the value or tradition, bangles are a passion with most females and they let no opportunity to adorn their arms with bangles in matching colours on every occasion.

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