Punjabi wedding traditions are a vibrant reflection of Punjabi culture, involving many rituals and dances, luxurious outfits and adornments, as well as deliciously rich food. These traditions have evolved over centuries, and are still observed and respected with every big wedding.
The Punjabi bride is always a beautiful sight to behold, she comes embellished from head to toe in a traditional red and gold lehenga and matching dupatta, or wears other bright colours such as green, fuchsia, orange or gold. One thing, despite variations, stays the same, and that’s the compulsory use of Choora bangles.
On the day of the wedding, the Choora ritual involves a giving ceremony, in which the oldest maternal uncle and aunt of the bride bring this set of beautiful red and cream bangles as a gift of good wishes and happiness. Then, all those who are present at the ceremony tie kaliras (silver or gold ornaments) to the bangles worn by the bride.
It’s a well-known fact that Indian brides look dazzling in all their bling, but the meaning of certain jewellery pieces is less well known. The choora tradition originated in the Punjab and is now followed by both Hindus and Sikhs. The red and ivory bangles come usually in a set of 21, and act as a sign of marriage, fertility and prosperity.
According to the tradition, brides should wear their choora bangles for a year after the wedding, and will have another ceremony to take them off on their first anniversary of marriage. Now, however, brides tend to wear them for just 40 days after the wedding.
As well as signifying the status of a married woman, the choora is also meant for the well-being of the husband. The bride is therefore not able to see the choora until the moment of the wedding, and so her eyes remain closed. If the colour fades on the bangles in the weeks or months after the wedding, it is the responsibility of the in-laws to get them re-dyed.
We at Zankyou see the choora tradition as one that is beautiful, elegant and timeless. We wish every Punjubi bride all the prosperity and happiness that these bangles symbolise!