If you have grown as a girl child in India, there is every reason that you have adorned your forehead with a red powder from your mothers’ cosmetics. All this in good fun!
This bright red powder called Sindoor or Kumkum is the Hindi name for vermillion. It is applied as a red streak along the hair parting of a married Hindu woman. It symbolizes strength and belongingness for every married Indian woman.
Sindoor is applied for the first time on a woman by her husband during the marriage ceremony. Among the so many beautiful ceremonies like the Mehndi ceremony, Haldi ceremony, this is considered the most sacred ritual and soul-stirring moment of the wedding ceremony.
“Ek Chutki Sindoor” (one pinch of vermillion) is the much talked about scene from the popular Bollywood movie. This may signify the importance of Sindoor to the younger generation. But the importance of this bright powder can be dated back to the time of the Puranas. According to ancient scriptures, it is believed that Lord Shiva applied Sindoor on the head of Parvati during their wedding ceremony.
Ever since applying Sindoor is integral to every Hindu wedding.
Sindoor also symbolizes the female energy of Sati, the ideal wife who sacrificed her life to save her husband's dignity. Hindu mythology says that it is in good interest that every Hindu wife emulate her.
Traditionally, every Hindu married woman must apply Sindoor till the time her husband is alive. However, the tradition is losing its significance among the younger generation.
Sindoor is also a mark of respect and love of a wife towards her husband. Since red color symbolizes power, the red shading also means control.
Additionally, Sindoor has many medicinal properties and symbolic reasons behind adorning it by married Indian women.
Let us quickly learn some of these-
- It is believed to control blood pressure and regulate female hormones, especially the ones that are secreted from the pituitary gland. It, therefore, helps control feelings
- According to ancient beliefs, Sindoor is believed to activate sexual desire and for this reason, it is prohibited for spinsters and widows
- It is supposed to be a good stress reliever and concentration booster
- According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati ensures the safety of spouses whose wives apply Sindoor and also saves them from malice.
- The turmeric component of Sindoor cures anxiety and helps keep the mind alert
- And of course, Sindoor signifies auspiciousness, sacredness, and happiness that a woman brings to her new house after her marriage
What is Sindoor made of?
The main components of Sindoor are turmeric and lime.
Amazing Sindoor Ritual “Sindoor Khela”
Bengalis celebrate a beautiful ritual, “Sindoor Khela”, each year on the last day of Durga Pooja. In this ceremony, all married women apply Sindoor on Goddess Durga and then on each other to seek the divine blessings of the Goddess.
In short, the beautiful red color of Sindoor enhances the beauty and grace of Indian women. It’s the most graceful accessory that accentuates womanhood in the most pious form.
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