Bindi (decoration)

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A bindi (from Sanskrit bindu, meaning "a drop, small particle, dot") is a forehead decoration worn in South Asia (particularly India) and Southeast Asia. Traditionally it is a dot of red color applied in the centre of the forehead close to the eyebrows, but it can also consist of a sign or piece of jewelry worn at this location.

Traditionally, married Hindu women wear a bindi. The traditional bindi is made with red sindoor powder or perhaps a black ointment. The bindi is a form of tilak, religious Hindu signs worn on the forehead. Nowadays, bindis are also worn by women who are not married, children, and by women who are not Hindu. The Hindus believe that a red bindi should be worn by women who are married and a black bindi is worn by single girls. A black bindi is also believed to keep the evil spirits away.

Outside South Asia, bindis are sometimes worn by women of Indian origin. Some Western women who have converted to Hinduism, such as in the Hare Krishnas, also wear bindis. Sometimes they are worn as a style statement. International celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Shakira, Madonna, Nina Hagen, Nelly Furtado, and Shania Twain have been seen wearing bindis.

Alternative names of bindi

A bindi can be called:

Sometimes the terms sindoor, kumkum, or kasturi are used by reference to the material used to make the mark.

Religious significance

The area between the eyebrows (where the bindi is placed) is said to be the sixth chakra, ajna, the seat of "concealed wisdom". According to followers of Tantrism, this chakra is the exit point for kundalini energy. The bindi is said to retain energy and strengthen concentration. It is also said to protect against demons or bad luck.

Related customs

In addition to the bindi, in India, a vermilion mark in the parting of the hair just above the forehead is worn by married women as a symbol of their married status. During North Indian marriage ceremonies, the groom applies sindoor on the parting in the bride's hair. Ancient Chinese women wore similar marks (for purely decorative purposes) since the second century, which became popular during the Tang Dynasty.

In modern times

In modern times, the bindi has become a decorative item and is worn by unmarried as well as non-Hindu women, in India, Bangladesh and other countries of South Asia. It is no longer restricted in colour or shape. Self-adhesive bindis (also known as sticker bindis) are available. They are made of felt or thin metal, and come with an adhesive on one side. These are simple to apply, disposable substitutes for older tilak bindis. Sticker bindis come in many colors, designs, materials, and sizes. Fancy sticker bindis may be decorated with sequins, glass beads, or rhinestones for extra dazzle.


External links

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