The Future of Mangalsutras
A groom tying the holy thread, commonly known as the mangalsutra, around his bride is a very important ritual in most Hindu weddings. The main purpose behind this holy thread is to signify marriage and protect the couple from evil.
Based on the specific culture and region there are different names and types for mangalsutra such as Tanmaniya, Taagpaag, Dejhoor, Thaali, Nallapusalu, Hirumangalyam, Minnu, Manthrakodi, Mangalasutramu , Pustelu, Maangalyamu, Ramar Thaali , Bottu, Vatis, Dhaaremani, Muhurthmani, and Maangalya-Sutra.
In this article, I wanted to discuss the the future of mangalsutras based on past and present trends and my personal observations.
Will the future bride hold the same meaning and importance for mangalsutra? Will the design evolve and be accepted in the society with the changing times? Let’s delve into three important factors that will help understand the future better.
- Cultural Significance during the Wedding Ceremony
Cultural significance and importance of mangalsutra during the wedding ceremony is one of the first determining factors when trying to understand the future of mangalsutras.
For centuries, wedding priests have been performing the mangalsutra ceremony. It’s about tying the sacred thread across the bride’s neck followed by applying sindoor in her forehead. The name of the ceremony is called “mangalya dharanam”
A mangalsutra ceremony continues to be an important part of Hindu weddings. The cultural significance is as strong as it has been in the past.
It is highly unlikely that this universal and timeless ritual will ever go away. A Hindu marriage would be incomplete without the mangalsutra ceremony. At the most basic level, grooms will continue to at least tie a sacred yellow thread with a small pendant as the wedding mangalsutra.
2. Design and Wearability
This is the second determining factor on the future of mangalsutras. Jewelry and ornaments are designed to enhance the beauty of a woman. A woman takes pride in the design of her jewelry.
The groom’s family generally gets the mangalsutra for the bride. The bride, in most cases, doesn’t get to pick her mangalsutra. So no matter whether she likes the design or not, she has to wear it.
Design and wearability go hand in hand because the the way mangalsutra is going to be worn completely depends on the design. What I mean by wearability is, how often a mangalsutra is worn and with what kind of outfits.
Mangalsutra is a cultural piece of jewelry in a bride’s wardrobe after she gets married. It was designed for a more traditional lifestyles where most women were homemakers.
But these days many women enjoy a professional life and are career-oriented. We are living a great time where men and women have equal opportunities in most parts of the world. With changing lifestyles, the attires of Indian women have changed from sarees and salwar suits to a more Indo-Western fusion attires.
Similarly, the designs of mangalsutras have also been evolving. Today women get to experience the traditional gold pendant tied in a thread to designer gold pendants in beautiful gold chains. Women in certain cultures also enjoy wearing diamond mangalsutra pendants.
However only a handful of brides wear their mangalsutra on a everyday basis. This is particularly the case in Western countries, where mangalsutras end up in the bank safe.
Currently only a few fortunate brides get to pick and decide their mangalsutras. When brides get to choose, they prefer a more delicate and versatile mangalsutra pendant.
But I think the future is bright for Indian brides to-be. Brides will get to decide which mangalsutra suits her personality and lifestyle. This will make a huge difference in the wearability of the mangalsutra.
When the bride get to choose her dream piece, she is more likely to wear it often, possibly every day. The special wedding jewel would also be a reflection of her own style.
Modern jewelers are working very hard to make the design of mangalsutras more appealing for the next generation.
Faith is the third factor, which is equally important in the determining the future of mangalsutras. Unless we truly believe in something, we cannot implement it successfully. This is especially true for mangalsutras. The wife wears the mangalsutra for her husband’s long life and protect him from evil.
The black mangalsutra beads are known to absorb the negativity in a couple’s life. This may sound a bit superstitious to some people but others would do anything to believe in such a thing. In the past, women wore the mangalsutra everyday because of such beliefs.
In present times, we don’t see many women wear the mangalsutra on a daily basis even if they believe in the power of a mangalsutra. Due to the traditional mangalsutra designs and changing lifestyles, the faith is not as high as one would expect.
As mentioned earlier, mangalsutra designs are evolving to meet the needs of the modern bride. This will not only bring fresh perspectives in design and functionality but ultimately increase faith.
For any tradition or a ritual to continue in the future, people should practice the same. This is also the case for mangalsutras.
Mangalsutra designs need to change with times. Only then would newer generations desire such a piece of jewelry. Most brides don’t wear their mangalsutra as the design doesn’t fit their lifestyle.
There is a lot of creativity and innovation that is currently happening in terms of design. The ultimate goal is to preserve the cultural meaning and significance of the mangalsutra.
Are you currently married and wear a mangalsutra, what has been your experience? If you’re not married, what aspects of a mangalsutra would make it more desirable for you? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Author Bio: Jinal Sampat is jewelry designer . Her focus is on innovation and creation of jewelry pieces that are meaningful and hold long term value. She creates versatile designs with Indo-Western elements. Jinal holds her graduate degree from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). You can find her at Instagram.