Symbols are powerful expressions of Human culture. Culture is not stagnant. It is transformed with time, space and need. Culture is imbibed through direct instruction or through observation, imitation as well as adaptation. Continuous socialization makes the individual internalize the thoughts.
Wearing the symbols of marriage supports the tradition and the customs. Customs are manifestations of a section of people wanting to design the society as per their necessity and interests. They are designed to satisfy the needs of the society.
Hindu women mainly the Bengali women and also in Bihari culture they wear certain symbols of marriage like Shakha, Pola, Loha and Sindoor. Shakha are white bangles made of conch-shell and Pola are red bangles made of red corals. There is an iron bangle called Loha.
Shakha and Pola are worn in both the hands. The bride has to wear Pola between Shakha or iron metal bangles. It is said that iron metal bangles keep balance between positive and negative powers. It is worn only in the left hand. It may or may not be covered by gold.
Sindoor is vermilion which is applied on the parting of the hair. Usage of Sindoor by a woman implies that she is already married. All these are symbols of marriage for Hindu Bengali women. Many believe that wearing these could ward off bad omens and it enhances the beauty of bride and also love between the couples.
Shakha & Pola are a main ornament of a married woman. Now days this had become like precious jewellery for every married women. This custom is most popular in eastern part of India as well as in north India. In West Bengal according to the Bengali culture the Shakha & Pola has a great significance. Before the actual Bengali marriage day married women perform ritual called Dodhi Mangal in which they soak bangles made with shells in turmeric mixed water. Seven married women put Shakha Pola into bride’s hands. It symbolizes as seven forms of Goddess.
It's a naturally made shell just needs to be carved with care & patience. The Shakha though seems to be firm may get brittle if handled carelessly. Similarly in a married life the bride needs to make sure that she fulfils her responsibility without losing her charm, sensitivity & morals accompanied with auspicious thinking.
The custom is another golden page of a married life. Shakha & Pola are nature's blessing to the married woman. It's not only an ornament but it's a proud for a married woman.
Traditionally whenever a married woman applied Vermilion/Sindoor on her forehead as a symbol of being married she also applies a little Vermillion on the left Shakha. This wonderful tradition goes on without any hindrance.
These traditions bring us close to our society and our family. Such small small things make our life more beautiful and fill our every moment with happiness and love.