Bangles for Tiny Wrists

There is a tradition in some Hindu cultures to wear the “chura” bangles from the day of the wedding for some amount of time after. Some communities wear them for a month after the wedding, others for four months, and still others for a full year. Wearing these sets of bangles (usually ivory and maroon) mark a woman as newlywed. My cousin participated in this tradition, wearing her chura for a year after her wedding. Here is a post I discovered written by another white woman married to an Indian man in which she discusses  her choice to wear chura: http://mydelhiadventures.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/the-markers-of-a-newlywed-2/ (You’ll see it written both “chura” and “chuda” because there is a letter in the Hindi alphabet that is a cross between an “r” and a “d” sound so it’s hard to know how best to transliterate it!) You can also get kalire, which are little drum shaped ornaments that hang from the bangles. People tie them to you for good luck!

I love traditions like this and I look forward to doing so as well. But I need to find appropriate bangles. I want them to look nice for the wedding, but not be so blingy that they’ll look out of place during a normal day and I also want them to fit me well. I have absurdly small wrists!

Turns out that I’m not the only person with this issue: http://www.alterationsneeded.com/2009/04/bangle-bracelets-for-thin-wrists.html

She recommends Etsy and I did find an Etsy seller doing chura-style bangles, but I wanted a bigger variety of choices. In order to buy online, I was going to need to figure out what my wrist size is.

Here is a helpful chart I found: http://www.carmaworld.com/images/Bangle_Size.pdf

I found a few other sizing charts, and I think my wrists are a 2.4

So now I just need to select one of the many nice sets available:

 

 

If you can find your size, Ebay can be a great option (and sellers might be able to get you other sizes, if you contact them):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These type of bangles are not to be worn in any other context except as a new bride. It is considered to be bad luck to wear them before you are married. If you wear them for fashion only, people are likely to take offense to that!

I’ve seen some white women married to Indian men express reluctance to wear these for fear that people will assume that they’re just doing it for fashion or because they think it looks cool. Me personally, I think you’re fine to wear them as long as you are actually a newlywed. If people question you about wearing them, then you can say “Yes, I’m wearing them because I am a new bride.” This will be my only opportunity in life to wear them, so I’m going to! :)

(I’ve heard some people say that the tradition began as a way to give a new wife a more relaxing first year. The original bangles would have been made of glass and intensive labor would break them. I don’t know if that rumor is true, but that’s what I’ve heard!)

 

About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com/ Andrea

    I’m also a 2.4 bangle size! It’s not too hard to find in India. It’s a common size there. But here, 2.6 is small!

    The Punjabi wedding traditions include the stacks of red and white bangles and there is a ceremony before the wedding for putting them on.

    I have another friend who is marrying a Punjabi and her in-laws’ tradition is to wear only white churas.

    Bengali brides wear one red and one white bangle called pola and shankha. The red bangle is made from lac and the white from conch shell. At my wedding, I also wore a terra cotta bangle on each wrist but my mother in law took those back home with her. I wear a iron bangle daily as a kind of wedding ring now.

    Other traditions wear special colors of glass bangles for the wedding and after marriage. But I don’t know much about those.

    So many bangle traditions for marriage across India!

    • Ambaa

      So true! And I never know which tradition to draw from. I think my cousin followed Punjabi tradition, as her mother-in-law is from that region.

      I guess we Americans are known for thick wrists, eh?

      • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com/ Andrea

        Yes, it would make sense for her to wear the churas if she was marrying a Punjabi. For me it didn’t make sense at all. I didn’t even know I’d be wearing shankha and pola until my mother in law showed them to me a few days before the wedding :)

        I think it’s more a ‘culture’ thing than a ‘Hindu’ thing but if there is something you’ve become acculturated to, that’s probably the one to go with. The less thinking you have to do, the better :)


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