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A bindi on a forehead.

A bindi (from Sanskrit bindu, meaning "a drop, small particle, dot") is a forehead decoration worn in South Asia (particularly India, Bangladesh)[1] and Southeast Asia, not to be confused with a tilaka. Traditionally it is a dot of red colour applied in the center of the forehead close to the eyebrows, but it can also consist of a sign or piece of jewelry worn at this location.

Contents

Modern use

Bindis are worn throughout South Asia, specifically India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, by women and girls, and no longer signify age, marital status, religious background or ethnic affiliation.[2] The bindi has become a decorative item and is no longer restricted in colour or shape. Self-adhesive bindis (also known as sticker bindis) are available, usually made of felt or thin metal and adhesive on the other side. These are simple to apply, disposable substitutes for older tilak bindis. Sticker bindis come in many colors, designs, materials, and sizes. Fancier sticker bindis are decorated with sequins, glass beads, or rhinestones.

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 Julia Roberts,[3] Gwen Stefani, Shakira, Madonna, Nina Hagen, Nelly Furtado, and Shania Twain have been seen wearing bindis. At the 2010 Grammys, artist Katy Perry attended wearing a bindi.

Bindis are not as fashionable to the younger generation and are often worn on formal and traditional occasions now. The popularity of bindis varies with the latest fashion trends of South Asia.

Alternative names of bindi

An Indian woman with a tilaka, a type of bindi, on her forehead.

A bindi can be called:

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 Hinduism, this chakra is the exit point for kundalini energy. The bindi is said to retain energy and strengthen concentration.[4] It is also said to protect against demons or bad luck.

In modern times, bindis are worn by women of many religious dispositions in South Asia and Southeast Asia, and is not restricted to Hindus.

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.

Collection of modern bindis.

References

  1. ^ Das, Subhamoy. "Bindi: The Great Indian Forehead Art". http://hinduism.about.com/od/bindis/a/bindi.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  2. ^ Parvesh Handa, "Home Beauty Clinic", Pustak Mahal, ISBN 8122300995
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Das, Subhamoy. "Bindi: The Great Indian Forehead Art". http://hinduism.about.com/od/bindis/a/bindi.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 

External links

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