There’s no other wedding accessory that screams ‘bride’ like the bridal chura does. These red and white bangles have major emotional and cultural significance in the life of an Indian bride, akin to engagement rings and wedding sarees. The emotional significance also arises from the fact that bridal chura is considered to be a symbol of suhaag. We say Indian and not just Punjabi brides, as there are regional variations to these bridal bangles (the Bengali Pola Sakha is just one example). Plus, this is 2018 and brides from all cultural backgrounds are coming forward to embrace the bridal chura.
1. The Traditions
Originally, bridal churas were worn only by Punjabi brides as a set of 51 bangles, since it is an auspicious number. As a part of the tradition, the red bangles were made out of lac and the white ones out of ivory. But now, brides all over the country are flaunting these plastic chura sets containing different numbers of bangles. Typically, they are worn as a part of an auspicious ceremony.
Chuda Chadana Ceremony
The maternal uncles of the bride, mamas as they are fondly called, gift a bridal chura set in a religious ceremony known as the Chura Chadana. This happens at the same time as the Haldi ceremony and is a very emotional time for the bride and her entire family. The chura set is first dipped in a vessel filled with milk and rose petals to soften the bangles and make them easy to wear. The mamas then get the entire family to bless the chura before finally getting the bride to wear the bangles. According to traditions, the bride can see the chura only at the time of the wedding ceremony which is why her relatives cover the chura with a cloth at the end of the pooja.
After the Chura Chadana ceremony, the bride’s sisters and bridesmaids tie Kalire to the bridal chura. They signify prosperity in their shape and colour and are meant to be a wish or prayer from the sisters for the bride. Of course, there is fun involved in these festivities too. Everyone loves the Kalire showering part which is the Indian equivalent to the western bouquet toss. The bride tries to drop her Kalire on her bridesmaids and whoever gets a piece is expected to be the next bride of the group.
2. The Modern Take
Over the years, we’ve seen these traditional ceremonies evolve, taking the comfort of the bride consideration. The bride knows and respects her customs and traditions but instead of following them blindly, she personalises them to create a unique bridal story.
Bridal chura colours
The chura bangles are not restricted to red and white anymore. Just like the evolving colours of designer bridal lehengas, the colours of bridal chura have evolved too. Markets now sell bridal chura in shades of pink, peach, orange, coral, magentas and more to suit the tastes of our modern brides. To match the fresh colours of the chura, the kalire designs are also getting revamped.
Taking them off
The way wedding rings are always worn, the traditional rules require the brides to wear the bridal chura for 13 months after her wedding. But thanks to loving and accommodating families, brides can now take off the chura bangles much earlier than that, usually after 13 days symbolising the 13 months. Even the number of bangles in a bridal chura set has reduced considerably because, for the working brides of 2018, comfort comes first. All you need is a supportive family who respects your choices over restrictive customs of the ancestors.
3. Where to Shop
Delhi brides have a lot of options when it comes to bridal chura shopping sessions. Popular markets like Lajpat Nagar, Chandni Chowk, Rajouri Garden, Tilak Nagar, Laxmi Nagar etc have many shops selling all styles of the bridal chura. You may find these even at some stores selling bridal jewellery sets. Stores have the simple ivory bangles for the traditional bride, smaller chura sets for the minimal brides, and crystals laden churas for the modern brides. Make sure you try the first and the last bangle of the chura set for checking the size. Remember, buy a bridal chura set that you can see yourself wearing on your wedding day and the days following that.
Buy the bridal chura only after you’ve finalized and/or bought your wedding lehenga, thus coordinating colours perfectly. And if you’ve spent time customising this set, get your wedding photographers to click nice shots of the chura before the ceremony and with a special focus after your wedding too.
Tell us in the comments below how your experience of buying one was.