India is a land known for its unique traditions and customs. The practices and customs are not merely meaningless actions, activities or beliefs, but they are deeply rooted in the well being of an individual. One such unique custom and tradition is for married women to wear toe rings on their second toe. Different ceremonies are performed in various states in the country, wherein a Toe ring is worn on the toes of the Bride and the groom. Have you ever wondered about the significance of this practice?
A Toe ring as the name suggests is a ring that is worn on the toes of the feet. It is widely worn by married women on their second toes on either of their feet. These tiny rings are made up of metals like silver and other alloys. Wearing toe rings is a common practice in India, especially among married women.
Toe rings are known by different names as they are not confined to the practices of one state. In Tamil, it is called Metti, in Malayalam, it is known as Minji, in Telugu, it's Mettelu whereas, in Hindi, it is known as Bichiya. However, the origin of wearing toe rings is unknown. But, there is a mention of toe rings in the Epic Ramayana when Sita gets abducted by Ravana, there is a mention about Sita throwing her toe rings so that Lord Rama can find her.
METALS USED FOR TOE RING
Toe rings are primarily made up of silver. Silver is a good conductor and it helps in flushing out the negativity from a woman's body. Silver also absorbs the earth’s polar energy into one’s body, keeping the body healthy. Generally, there is a belief that Gold should not be used/worn below one’s waist. According to Indian tradition, it is considered disrespectful as Gold is associated with Goddess Lakshmi. Hence, Toe rings are usually not made up of Gold.
Toe rings usually come in pairs. They come in a variety of designs as well. Some Toe rings are plain with no intricate designs. They are like hoops ( with open ends at the back). This helps one to adjust to the size of the toe. Some toe rings, on the other hand, have more contemporary designs. Nowadays, one can find Toe rings made up of non-metals also and they are used for decorative purposes.
Toe rings are worn as a symbol of being married, and they are not removed throughout one’s lifetime. In the olden days, toe rings were worn by both men and women. Men used to wear toe rings in the olden days. It was a way to identify a married man. Nowadays, men remove their toe rings after their wedding ceremony. However, the women continue to wear them after the wedding ceremony. During the wedding ceremony, the husband usually puts the toe rings on his wife’s second toe on both her feet.
According to Ayurveda, the nerves of the second toes are connected to the uterus. When slight pressure is applied to the nerves, ( in the form of toe rings)they get activated. Thus, it helps in regulating one’s menstrual cycle, relieves menstrual cramps and helps in having a healthy uterus.
The size of the toe ring may be small and insignificant, but the health benefits it renders to the women are innumerable. Thus, every little practice behind the Hindu traditions are meaningful and deeply rooted in the physical and mental wellbeing of an individual.
I am Vaishnavi Gurusankar, a passionate educator, a wife and a mother. I have over a decade of experience as an educator and have been closely working with teachers and children of all ages. I am also an active parenting blogger and founder of Magical Unicorn, an exclusive parenting blog founded on Indian ethos, values and stories at its core.
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