Shringars do not take one particular form as they can range from jewellery to kajal to flowers. The various types of shringars that are going to be discussed are necklaces, bangles, war rings, mangalsutra , Sindoora, Bindi, kajal ,flowers and mehindi and are very potent form on Hindu iconology.
Kajal is a thick black ointment which is made of ground lead sulphide or antimony sulphide, which is eyeliner, a coolant and protector against the evil eye(can locally be explained as someone looking at you with bad intent). Traditionally is was used by both men and women but it is considerably more dominant in women but children of both sexes are made to wear the kajal by their mother as it is a coolant and to protect them from the evil eye. The kajal is normally applied to the lower rim of the eyelid by the parent with a fingertip in the upper lid as well as a precautionary measure. (1)“From the time a child is six days old, its mother applies kajal to its eyes and as a small black dot on the forehead to mar the child’s beauty. This “imperfection” is said to protect from evil”. It is notable that the age of the child dictates where the kajal is placed as seen with the six year old baby versus a young child because it will be too dangerous to be placed inside the eyelid of a baby. Mehindi is a very popular form of adornment in Trinidad especially around Divali or Hindu weddings. Mehindi or henna (lawsonaia inermis) is a small tropical scrub that ground into a paste after it is dried which gives out a rust colored pigment stain that can serve as a hair dye and conditioner. It can also function as a hair conditioner and its most post popular use creative designs on the hands and the feet of women. (2)“The auspicious reddish colour merits its use during all ceremonies related to marriage. It denotes the prosperity that a bride is expected to bring into a new home and is part of 16 traditional adornments, complete with its own ceremony.
A professional is ususally called upon as the process is almost an art form.” This process takes roughly around three to four hours for the Mehindi to dry and the bride has to suit through the process. The process is not a boring one however, as usually female friends and female relatives sit with the bride giving her advice and this usually calms the nerves of the bride. Sindoora commonly known as Sindoor is a vermillion red powder that serves many uses but in the case of women, it is applied as a dot on the forehead or the in the parting of a woman’s hair by the groom.. When worn by married women, it is to depict a visible expression of their desire husband and that they wish he will long live and that they will both have a long marriage. In the Hindu religion, red is the colour of power and Vermilion is the symbol of female energy of Sati and Parvati. Parvati protects the husbands of those wives who have had vermillion placed on them by their husbands and Sati is believed in Hindu scripture to be the perfect wife and all Hindu women should try to emulate her.
The Sindoora is first applied to the wife to be during the wedding ceremony by the bridegroom however in Trinidad the Sindoora is sometimes applied before as a way of letting the public know that she is engaged. Jewellery especially gold is considered because in the Hindu religions, gold is believed to have the power to purify anything it touches. Originally in India, gold was worn as a sign of economic significance as it was usually given to them at their wedding which would then be passed down to their daughter and an example of this would be a necklace or a nose ring. Some women wear their gold constantly as they believe it will purify them. The most common necklace that is worn by women is the “Mangalsutra”.(3) “Mangalsutra or thread of good will is a necklace worn specifically by married women as a symbol of their marriage. The most common Mangalsutra is made of two strings of black beads with a pendant, usually of gold. The black beads are believed to act as protection against evil. Married women wear this to protect their marriage and the life of their husband.” Married women are supposed to constantly wear their Mangalsutra and only take it off if they become a widow. In Trinidad , this tradition is not followed and married women wearing their Mangalsutra is a rare site and can be more seen on young teenage women as it has become more of fashion. Flowers are usually used as a form of worship to Hindu deities but can also function as a form of respect and to offer one’s blessing. When used as a form of respect, it is usually when a child is asking for the blessing of his parents in the form of Arti and when it is used as a form of blessing, it is traditionally at a Hindu wedding where flowers are thrown at the bride to shower he with blessings. The Bindi is the most common Hindu icon that can be identified; it is normally a red dot made with vermillion powder which worn by women between their eyebrows and their forehead however in Trinidad it is usually a black dot,(4)“it symbolizes the female energy and is believed to protect women and their husbands. Traditionally a symbol of marriage, it had also become decorative and worn today by unmarried girls and women as well. Widows however, usually do not wear a bindi.” In Trinidad, earrings are a big deal in the Hindu female community as girls usually have their ears before they are even one year old. There are specific types of earrings for married women as well which are suspended by a red thread from a hole pierced in the upper part of the ear.
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(1). National Council of Indian Culture Annual Commemorative Magazine 23rd Edition, Divali Nagar 2004. The Hindu Parampara, Hindu Traditions. Pg 11.
(2) National Council of Indian Culture Annual Commemorative Magazine 23rd Edition, Divali Nagar 2004. The Hindu Parampara, Hindu Traditions. Pg 11.
(3) National Council of Indian Culture Annual Commemorative Magazine 23rd Edition, Divali Nagar 2004. The Hindu Parampara, Hindu Traditions. Pg 11.
(4) National Council of Indian Culture Annual Commemorative Magazine 23rd Edition, Divali Nagar 2004. The Hindu Parampara, Hindu Traditions. Pg 11.