In India, auspicious moments are incomplete without the colour red; particularly in the case of weddings. The colour red is an integral part of any Indian wedding in some way or the other; no matter which religion, caste or creed.
Red – Its significance and appeal
For a traditional Indian woman, wedding is the start of a new phase in her life. It indicates the change she has to go through, from leaving her parents’ shelter to starting a new family with her in-laws. So, many Indian brides choose colour red as it signifies the beginning of this new phase of life.
According to astrology, the red planet Mars is in-charge of marriages. In Hindu religion, red colour represents love, passion, prosperity and fertility. The henna that is used to decorate the palms of women during special occasions is also red. Married women are required to display a red bindi on their foreheads; whereas it is black for single girls. In Hindu tradition, red is considered to be the most sacred colour, as it symbolizes wealth, strength, virginity and piety, making it the perfect colour to mark the start of a new life.
Red Bridal Wear
Whether it’s a ghagra-choli, a lehenga or a saree, most brides prefer colour red. Among bridal wedding attire, saree is considered to be the epitome of tradition as it gives the bride a more gorgeous and elegant look. The golden work on the attire, along with gold ornaments worn by the bride, makes her the most beautiful woman on that day. The finishing part of any marriage ceremony is when the groom puts the red sindoor on the bride’s forehead. Bridegrooms also opt to wear red attire (though, not all) as it indicates strength and vigour.
There is a wide range of wedding accessories to match and compliment the gold-red attire of the bride. But, be sure not to add too much red in your jewellery.
In North Indian Hindu marriages, the bride is presented with a Choora (a set of 21 bangles in red and ivory colours) by her maternal uncle and aunt, in the morning of the wedding day or before. During old days, choora was worn by a bride for one year from the day of her wedding and only her husband could take it off from her hand. Nowadays, a bride wears it for at least 40 days as it is difficult for her to return to work after marriage by putting it on.
The most prosperous moments in a marriage ceremony are when the groom ties the ‘mangal sutra’ or ‘thali’ around his bride’s neck and puts on the sindoor on her forehead. Since centuries it is believed that longer and darker the shade is, the longer is the husband’s life. Its significance is mentioned in epic books like Lalitha Sahasranama, Soundarya Lahari, etc.
From the Mythological context, Goddess Parvati and Devi Sita used to adorn their foreheads with sindoor. It is said that Goddess Parvati protects the husbands of those women who put sindoor and also wards off all evil spirits. A married woman is expected to wear the sindoor on her forehead till her husband is alive. There is another saying regarding the amount of sindoor that falls on a bride’s nose when her groom puts it on her forehead. It determines how much the husband will love her.
Apart from all of the above, it is easy to spot the bride from among the crowd if she is clad in red. Yes, with its crisp and vivid appearance, it ensures that the bride, on her special day is not robbed of the importance and that she stands out as the star of the day. From the psychological context, red colour gives the bride the much-needed strength to overcome her nervousness and anxiety, as she is stepping out of her comfort zone. What an integral part red colour plays for Indian brides and their wedding attire! For those who have had their turn of being the star of the show, look back and see the significance of red colour on your wedding day. For those who are busy planning it, I am sure that red colour would every bit be a colour that you certainly can’t avoid.