Weddings not only bring with it a plentitude of grandeur and extravagance but also comes with an instruction manual of its own. Starting from the pre-wedding rituals to the post, it lists everything, what should be done, what should be given out, who should it be given out by and even lists the dress code of the people involved. One of the many markers of a Bengali wedding is its gold jewellery. It is an indispensable element of an Indian bride’s wedding trousseau. Any Indian bride would always be decked up from head to toe in jewellery, exceptions are rare, like the eyes, and the range to choose from is myriad. With the change in the area and differing culture, even the type of jewellery worn by the people has some marked changes.
The Bengali in this context adorns herself with only heavy gold jewellery, any other form of metal is a rare thing to find on Bengali bride. Most of the designs worn by the bride of today are centuries old and some are even family heirlooms which are passed down from generation to generation, polished or tweaked a little to fit the bride’s taste and preferences. Most of the Bengali beauties inherit these unique pieces from their mother or grandmothers. Some of these beautiful jewellery for a Bengali Bride is as follows:
Tairaa – This jewellery for a Bengali bride uses the tairaa to secure her veil. The tairaa resembles a combination of a tiara and a traditional mangtika. Some people say that the Bengali brides started to use tairaas after observing their British counterparts. Whatever the history may be, the tairaa is a unique piece of jewellery.
Tikli – It is worn on the middle parting of a bride’s hair. They are sometimes adorned with precious stones. The main part of the tikli, or the pendant shaped part of it, hangs at the hairline while the stick or the vertical part of it covers the middle parting. The hair, usually worn into a bun starts at the end of the tikli.
Jhumko – It is a jewellery for a Bengali Bride made out of pure gold. The Bengali bride not only adorns her ears with the jhumka but also kaan baala, paasha etc… They are all heavy chandelier type ornaments and the kaan baalas can be big enough to cover the ear due to its sheer size. With the modern designs flooding the markets, the sizes are kept the same but the earring are made lighter. The traditional designs are too heavy for the years and can be too painful for the ears especially for those who are not used to heavy ornaments. The light gold work of the modern designs makes it the earrings a relief to the ears in comparison.
Nath – The large nose ring, or nath, is a fewellery for a Bengali bride, worn by her on her wedding day. Earlier, it was a belief that the size of the nose ring was a determiner of the family wealth. Thus, in old times, not just the brides, but also the women at the wedding used to wear large chunky nose rings to show off their wealth. Today it is limited mostly to the bride, while some women may prefer wearing small nose rings for occasions
Chik – It is the choker type of necklace which is worn closely around the bride’s neck. A traditional chik ideally should not touch the collar bone. Though they were traditionally made of gold, the modern brides use diamond or other precious stones studded chik. It may also be a combination of both.
Paati haar – A paati haar is a jewellery for a Bengali Bride. It is a necklace that is worn traditionally by affluent Bengali ladies. It is also an important ornament of the bride in the state of West Bengal. Though earlier the paati haar designs used to be more intricate with gold wires they have now been reduced in order to curtail the discomfort they caused to the one wearing it.
Haater goyna – The haater goyna is the bengali word referring to the traditional bangles worn during the wedding by the bride. They are usually broad and are known for their carved intricate designs. The bracelet is called chur in Bengali. A Bengali bride also adorns her hands with a carved chur made out of gold.
Ratanchur – A ratanchur is a jewellery for a Bengali Bride which enhances the beauty of the bride’s hands. They are Mughal haathphool type of ornaments, which has five finger rings attached to the bracelet, meant for the wrist, through chains.
Opor haath – These are traditional armlets that are intricately carved.
The complete Bengali bride’s look needs a Kamar bandh and anklets.
Exhausted already? Yes being a Bengali bride or a bride at all can be a meticulous and painstaking process. The stress gets to us all but remembers through it all it comes only once in your life and stays forever. Sticking to the details of tradition, doing it for yourself and happiness of the people that surround you is always a meaningful and worthy act.