Las Vegas doesn’t host a lot of traditional Indian weddings, but when we do, it’s quite the affair. Compared to a typical American wedding, an Indian wedding is steeped in tradition and pageantry. Yet, like most weddings the modern couple is finding ways to add their own personal touch to their symbolic traditions.
One tradition is the inclusion of bangle bracelets on the bride’s arms. Bangles are part of the solah shringar, or the sixteen adornments aimed at making the bride look beautiful from head to toe. For centuries Indian cultures included arranged marriages and the solah shringar assured the bride looked her best when her husband saw her for the first time.
The bangle is an almost mandatory piece of the bride’s attire. They represent good fortune and prosperity and signify the long life of the husband. It’s unheard of for a bride to wear a single bracelet. Its quite common for her wrists to be covered as well as a portion of her forearms.
Traditionally, bangles are made of gold or other precious metals and are decorated with glass beads. Breaking those glass decorations is considered unlucky.
Of course, Indians are known for their colorful culture and it’s unusual to see bangles simply made of plain metal bands and clear glass. This is where the modern Indian bride is learning to express herself like so many other brides around the world. Much more thought now goes into the color, shape, texture and pattern of each bracelet as well as the order in which the bracelets arranged. Of course, they complement her dress, but they may also be part of the overall color scheme for the wedding and reception or have additional symbolism handed down through the family or created specifically for the happy couple.
Every great wedding has a mix of tradition, symbolism and personalization. Indian weddings with solah shringar and wedding barat among others, are no different and make for some of most beautiful weddings in the world.