‘Ek chutki Sindoor ki keemat tum kya jano Ramesh Babu’, Deepika Padukone implored an imaginary “Ramesh Babu” if he knew how significant one pinch of sindoor was, for a married woman.
Many claim there are scientific reasons too for the application of sindoor on the forehead. All said and done, the significance of sindoor for married Indian women is not something to be taken lightly. But how much do we really know about sindoor?
Sindoor was originally extracted from the sindoor or achiote tree (bixa orellana). It can also be made industrially using turmeric and lime. Not only is it a part of an everyday ritual for married Indian women across the world to apply it on their forehead, it is also an inseparable part of of our Indian culture.
Sindoor and its applications vary from region to region in India and many a mythological tale is associated with it. Here are some of the reasons on why sindoor is, and will always be a significant part of a married woman’s attire in India-
Symbol Of Fertility
Fertility is symbolized by menstrual blood, the colour of blood – red – became the de facto colour of fertility. The fact that women can create life within them makes them akin to the Creator in Indic thought. Application of sindoor signifies that a married woman is thankful for her role as a creator and aware of the responsibility it demands.
Offering To The Goddess Many a times
The kumkum or sindoor offered thus becomes akin to prasadam, or a gift from the Goddess herself, and is then offered to other women. Also, temples dedicated to Durga, Lakshmi and Vishnu often include sindoor in the offerings.
Intrinsic Part Of Culture All over India
At every festival, married women, especially across south India, who visit family and friends, are offered turmeric and sindoor by other married women. Also, all over West Bengal, married women indulge in what is known as the Sindoor Khela – a ritual that takes place on Vijayadashami – where they offer sindoor to Goddess Durga and then apply it on each other’s faces.