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How is sindoor made

The most common base of Sindoor   is turmeric powder which becomes red when mixed with lime juice or lime powder (calcium compound), moistened in water, or with alum, iodine and camphor, or with oil and sea shell powder (calcium salts), or aguru, chandan and kasturi. It can also be made of sandalwood mixed with musk, or from a mixture of saffron ground with kusumbha flower.

Another traditional ingredient used in making kumkum was raw rice in water heated in a pan until it formed into a glue-like red carbonaceous compound which solidified on cooling. At the time of placing the kumkum, it was made into a paste by adding water. National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) color experts say that in olden days sindoor was made with a special type of red marble stone, covered with turmeric and a little oil and left undisturbed for a few days, after which it turned into red powder

According to  Indian Standard :-Sindoor is a homogeneous fine powder consisting of pigments, colours in a medium having baryte
powder as the main ingredient. Baryte powder is obtained from stone of typically 99 percent barium sulphate.It is applied on parting of hair. It is generally available in red shades.

see:-IS 14649 : 1999

 

Sindoor

Sindoor or vermilion holds lot of importance in Bengali society. The tradition of application of sindoor in the parting of hair by married Hindu women is considered extremely auspicious and is being carried on since centuries.

Application of sindoor is essentially a Hindu tradition. In the 19th century,Sufi leader Sharafuddin Maneri encouraged Muslim women to apply sindoor in Bangladesh was severely condemned by reformist movements

Symbolic of Married Hindu Woman
In traditional Hindu society, wearing sindoor is considered must for married Hindu women. It is a visible expression of their desire for their husbands’ longevity. Traditionally therefore, widows did not wear vermilion.

Sindoor is applied for the first time to a Hindu woman during the marriage ceremony when the bridegroom himself adorns her with it. The ceremony is called Sindoor-Dana and is very much in vogue even in present times.

The tradition of wearing Sindoor by married women has been explained with the help of mythology. Scholars say that red is the color of power while vermilion is a symbol of the female energy of Parvati and Sati. Hindu mythological legends regard Sati as the ideal wife who gave her life for her husband’s honor. Every Hindu wife is supposed to emulate her. Hindus believe that Goddess Parvati protects all those men whose wives apply vermilion to their parting of hair.

History of Sindoor
Tradition of wearing Sindoor or vermillion is said to have traveled through more than 5,000 years of Hindu culture. Female figurines excavated at Mehrgarh, Baluchistan, show that sindoor was applied to the partition of women’s hair even in early Harappan times. Besides, legends says that Radha, the consort of Lord Krishna, turned the kumkum into a flame like design on her forehead. In the famous epic Mahabharata, Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, is believed to have wiped her sindoor in disgust and despair. Use of Sindoor has also been mentioned in The Puranas, Lalitha Sahasranamam and Soundarya Lahharis.

Adi Sankaracharya writes in Soundarya Lahari

Tanothu kshemam nas tava vadhana-saundarya lahari. Parivaha-sthrotah-saraniriva seemantha-saranih. Vahanti sinduram prabala-kabari-bhara-thimira-. Dvisham brindair bandi-krtham iva navin’arka kiranam

(Oh mother, let the line parting thine hairs, Which looks like a canal, Through which the rushing waves of your beauty ebbs, And which on both sides imprisons, Your Vermillion , which is like a rising sun, By using your hair which is dark like, The platoon of soldiers of the enemy, Protect us and give us peace)

Astrological Significance of Sindoor
According to Hindu astrology, Mesha Rashi or the House of Aries is on the forehead. The Lord of Mesha is Mars and his color is red. It is believed to be auspicious. This is why red sindoor is applied at the forehead and at the parting of the hair. Both are signs of saubhagya (good fortune). Sindoor is also considered to be the symbol of the female energy of Parvati and Sati.

 

Bangles

Undoubtedly, bangles complement the dress of women. Wearing bangles  is like adding one more feather to your cap. The best part about bangles is that it can be worn with any kind of dress.

As per the belief , it is must for married women to wear bangles. It symbolizes the well being of her husband. Married women never allow their arm to be completely bare. A simple string or even the end of her sari is wrapped around the arm, until the new set is worn.

In Bengal, married women a pair of white color Shakha (shell) , Pala (red coral) bangles and loha.

Astrologically:-

Sakha (for moon) keeps the mind cool

Pala (for mars) prevents quarrels

Loha (iron keeps off evil spirits) to wards off evil.

Saris of Bengal

Tanta/Taant Cotton – The Tant sarees are popular not only among the Bengali women but are liked all over India for their unique appearance and colors. The word literally means ‘Made On The Loom’, Taant is the traditional sari of Bengali women in India. Popularly known as Bengal cotton, taant is hand-woven in various districts of West Bengal. These saris come in a variety of colors with simple yet beautiful designs. Bengali handlooms are known for their transparent and crisp muslin like finish that is a joy to wear on a hot day. The lightness of the body cloth, combined with wide and silky threadwork borders and elaborate pallus with supplementary threadwork ornament give the sari it’s unique evenness of drape. If you are a cotton lover then you must have these unique Taant sarees in your wardrobe.

Baluchari Sari: The Baluchari sari of Murshidabad district, West Bengal is made of silk and woven on special looms is approximately 200 years old. The borders and pallu of the sari are very striking because of its use of intricate thread work to depict stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Baluchari Sari is similar in appearance to Benarsi sari but the only difference is that Baluchari sari use only silk thread, they do not use zari thread. The contrasting colors like deep red, pruple, deep blue with motifs of flowers, mythology, traditional Muslim court scenes, pleasure boat on two love birds on top are some of the designs often seen in these traditional Balcuhari sarees. The most distinctive feature of Baluchari sarees is their elaborate borders and pallu sometimes inspired by epics of Bishnupur temple.

Kantha Sari – Kantha is really the name for the embroidery itself, rather than the sari. Any garment or cloth with Kantha embroidery (which forms or outlines decorative motifs with running stitch) is a Kantha garment. Kantha is the specialty of Bolpur/Shantiniketan. The entire cloth is covered with running stitches and usually has beautiful folk motifs, floral motifs, animal and birds figures and geometrical shapes. Except for the straight Kantha stitch, it is customary to represent illustrations from well-known epics such as the Ramayana or Krishna Lila, and also legends evolving from folk-rituals of Bengal Kanthas in Bengal and as Sujanis in Bihar. This art of Kantha is practiced by rural women in West Bengal in spare time and each Kantha sari is the labour of love.

West Bengal is not untouched from the wide range of sarees from Bangladesh like Jamdani, Jamdani Khulna, Dhakai Benarosi and Rajshahi silk.

Sari

Jnanadanandini
The modern way of draping the sari with the end of the drape thrown around the left shoulder in neat pleats was the result of Jnanadanandini’s efforts.

Jnanadanandini was the wife of Satyendranath Tagore, the first Indian to join the civil service .

When Jnanadanandini, who spent two years in Mumbai with Satyendranath, returned to Jorasanko wearing the sari “Bombay style”, it created a flutter in the Tagore household. The common Bengali called the style “sarees of the Tagore family”.
Jnanadanandini advertised in the papers to teach others to wear the sari the way she did. A number of aristocratic Brahmikas turned up to learn the art.
She also introduced the practice of wearing petticoats, chemises, blouses and jackets with saris.

Jnanadanandini’s close friend Suniti Devi, the Maharani of Coochbehar, simplified the inherent awkwardness of the Bombay style by pinning a broach to keep the shoulder drape in place. She wore a small triangular piece of cloth on her head like a Spanish mantilla to give the sari a dash of western glamour.

It is unfortunate that modern Bengali women are giving up the sari for other dresses.

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