Asian Culture

The Significance of Nose Rings in the Indian Culture



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"The Significance of Nose Rings in the Indian Culture"
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A fairly recent trend in jewelry fashion in the west is nose rings. Though fairly new in the western world, nose rings have existed for many centuries in various parts of the world. Nose rings have stood the test of time in many countries, particularly India.

HISTORY OF NOSE RINGS IN INDIA

Nose rings, although closely associated with Indian culture, actually originated in the Middle East. Nose rings first appeared in India during the Moghul period around the 16th century. In fact, excavations in India have not turned up any evidence of nose rings in India prior to the 16th century.

TYPES OF NOSE RINGS IN INDIA

The nose rings that first appeared in India were not actual rings, but were small, flat, ornamental patterns often flowers that were held in place by a screw on the inside of the nostril.

The type of nose ring worn in India today is largely dependent on the area of the nose where the nose ring will be worn. For instance, studs, also known as phul, are common when worn in the nostril. Circular barbells, also known as nath, are worn in the septum (the cartilage between the nostrils), and straight barbells adorn the area on the bridge of the nose between the eyes. It's possible for septum rings to be so large that they make it difficult to eat.

Some nose rings are so heavily ornamented by jewels, pearls and so on, that chains, which are attached to the hair or over the earlobe are used to help support the weight of the nose ring.

METALS USED IN NOSE RINGS IN INDIA

Most commonly nose rings in India are made out of 14 or 18 karat gold, but titanium, nickel, niobium, and stainless steel are also used.

POSITION OF NOSE RINGS IN INDIA

As mentioned above in types of nose rings, nose rings in India can be worn on the nostril, septum, or the bridge of the nose. However, most commonly, nose rings are worn on either the left or right nostril. Typically the left nostril is favored because in Ayurvedic medicine, the left nostril is associated with the female reproductive organs, and a piercing in that position is thought to make childbirth easier as well as lessen the amount of menstrual pain.

NOSE RINGS IN INDIA AND HINDUISM

Nose rings in India appear to be associated with Hinduism as they are worn by Hindu women more than by women of any other religion in India. However, it should be noted that Muslim women do also wear nose rings.

NOSE RINGS IN INDIA AND MARRIAGE

Many Indian women, particularly Hindus, have their noses pierced around the age of 16, which is traditionally the marriageable age. Piercings in India, including nose piercings, are one way Hindus honor Parvathi, the goddess of marriage.

In some parts of India the nose ring is never removed once a woman is married, and thus a nose ring is often considered to be a sign of marriage, even though today unmarried women and even young girls in India may also wear nose rings.

Sources:
http://www.indianchild.com/fashion/nose_rings.htm
http://www.painfulpleasures.com/piercing_history.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nose_piercing

More about this author: Rebecca Livermore

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