Make Music with Your Feet- The Charm of Indian Anklets

(Viewed 4644 times since Sep 2021)

When thinking of jewelry, one always immediately considers what earrings, necklace, bracelet and rings to wear. However, beyond the most common categories of jewelry, body jewelry includes styles that one should not overlook. The anklet, in particular, is one style that is subtle yet sexy and actually steeped in history. Beyond a common accessory or piece of jewelry, in Indian culture, anklets actually have a lot of meaning. Also known as a payal in hindi, the piece of jewelry that fits around the ankle is worn by married Indian women, usually on the left ankle. In fact, it is traditionally gifted to a newly married Indian woman upon first arriving at her new husband’s home. However, anklets aren’t actually only reserved for married women. Unmarried women also wear anklets. For single women, the piece of jewelry is a symbol of both their bravery and pride. Wearing one on the right ankle could also signify that the woman is in search of a partner.

Sterling Gold Plated Anklets

Anklets come in a multitude of designs and can have many different embellishments. In its simplest form, the anklet is a metallic string that wraps around one’s ankle. The meenakari refers to the color of the metal surface of the jewelry. In the past, the anklet was usually only made of silver. It is said that this was because gold represents the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, and therefore for it was ungodly or sacrilegious to wear gold on one’s feet and so close to the ground. However, today, anklets are commonly made in either silver or gold. They can also be embellished with a variety of beads, pearls, different precious and semi-precious stones, as well as bells. In fact, bells are actually a very common embellishment for anklets. This is because women wear anklets with bells that create a soft jingling sound which is meant to subtly announces one’s arrival. This then serves as a notice to those around her, especially men, to be especially respectful and gallant in the presence of a woman. 

Apart from a classification on whether a woman is single or married, anklets are also very frequently worn by Indian dancers for the many popular dances in Indian culture. Anklets worn by dancers are known as ghunghroos. The ghunghroos are also commonly made with bells. These bells create a harmonious sound with the dancers’ movements and are meant to complement the music they’re dancing to and produce an even more melodious and richer sound. Anklets also have special significance because they’re believed to promote good health and well-being for the wearer. It is said that energy radiates out of one’s body particularly from the extremities, or hands and feet. Metals, such as silver, are known to be highly receptive metals. Therefore, wearing a metal anklet helps absorb positive energy back into a person’s body. This is said to promote positivity, passion, and support the immune system.

Sterling Spiral Anklets (Price Per Pair)

It’s no surprise that throughout the thousands of years that anklets have been a mainstay of Indian culture, the piece of jewelry has also gained popularity all over the world. Today, women of all cultures wear anklets for many reasons, whether it be for its cultural meaning, health benefits and for simple style purposes. While worn at the lowest part of the body, it is clearly a piece of jewelry that will always remain both significant and stylish.

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