India is rich and versatile in it’s diversified culture. There are so many religions, communities and castes and each one of them have their own set of beliefs and rituals. It’s a great wonder how this nation can support such a diversity and keep the unity.
Foreigners and even many Indians wonder why we wear sacred threads? There are so many colors. What each one signify? What are the beliefs behind wearing them? etc.. In this blogpost, we decode the top ten sacred threads worn by Indians and their significance.
1) Kalava (Red Thread):
Kalava is worn by both Indian men and women on their wrists. The elder person of the family or priest ties the thread on the right wrist of men and unmarried women and on the left wrist of married women. The main significance of wearing this sacred red thread is to receive blessing from Trideva – Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh and Tridevis – Saraswathi, Lakshmi, Durga. From ancient times, it is believed that wearing a Kalava protects the person from evil eyes and enemies. The red thread, also called as Mauli or Charadu is mainly tied during Pooja in Northern parts of India.
2) Mangalsutra (Yellow thread on neck):
During Hindu weddings, a yellow thread is tied around bride’s neck with three knots by the groom as the priest recites Mantra. The mangalsutra signifies that the woman is married. The thread is first soaked in Haldi/ Turmeric and the colour yellow symbolises prosperity and happiness. The married women wears the thread forever to attain and long life of the husband. The mangalsutra is Yellow colored in South India. The Mangalsutra in North Indian style will have beads and metal based ornaments.
3) Black thread:
You would have often seen people wearing Black thread around neck, wrist, waist and ankles. Black color is believed to protect us from evil forces. When the black thread tied around waist of small children, it is believed to protect the child from evil eyes. Even in these days, girls from rural places are seen wearing black thread around their ankle to protect from negative energies. Tying the black thread around a newborn neck, protects the child from evil spirits. Especially in south India you will see the usage of Black Threads.
4) Janeu (White Thread):
White thread is worn by few communities of people who follow Hindu religion. The male member of the family is made to wear the three fold thread over the left shoulder under the right arm during the ‘Upanayana ceremony’ or the ‘Thread Ceremony’. It symbolises that the boy is now ‘Brahmachaari’ and is beginning his education on Vedas and Upanishads.
Rakhi thread is tied around the wrist of brother by his sister during a festival called Raksha Bandhan that is celebrated on the full moon day on the month of Sravana (Shravana Poornima). Rakhi means Protection. The sister wishes her brother good health and success while the brother takes vow to stand by his sister through thick and thin. Rakhi symbolises the strength and bond of siblings.
6) Orange / Saffron Thread
Devotees of Guru Sai Baba use to wear a flavor of Orange Saffron Thread.
7) Yellow Thread on Hand
Scientifically, yellow colour represents – Positivity, Happiness and Hope. The person who ties a yellow thread on his wrist is believed to attain prosperity in everything he does. Yellow color in spiritual world signifies a lot. Devotees of several spiritual Gurus like Vallalar (South), Vethathiri Maharishi (South India) tie yellow threads during every full moon day and.
8) Green thread
Shiny Green Threads are worn by few people who are from the Agriculture background and who support nature. Green threads signifies Mother Nature and people tie it to show their support for preserving nature and fight against deforestation.
Also some wear green threads when they follow Lord Guberan (God of Wealth). The belief is to remain prosperous with blessings from the Lord of Wealth.
9) Multicolor Raksha Sutra
Then there are threads with several other color variations. Pale Red color for Lord Ayyappa (Kerala). Bright Orange color threads are worn by devotees of Lord Hanuman who gives confidence and strength.
10) Fashion Threads
Wearing fashion threads on wrist has always been on vogue. A pop of colour adds glamour to a dull boring outfit. These fashion threads can be worn around wrist and neck and sometimes around ankle. These days we can find small embellishments and trinkets embedded in the thread that brings in a lot of life to the accessory. Wearing fashion threads is a timeless way of adding more appeal to the personality. Varying from brown thread with wooden beads that go well with monochrome dresses to colourful threads with tassels and pom poms that is best paired for boho type dresses, there one for every outfit.
Aside the religious and psychological beliefs of people, these sacred threads also have some scientific significance. Science says, when these threads are tied on wrists, they balance the three doshas – Refer here; what is a Dosha? Vata, Pitta and Gapa. If the person who wears have a balanced Vata, Pitta and Gapa, he will not be affected by any health effects.
What’s your experience with wearing sacred threads? Join with me in comments below.