In today’s society we see all kinds of piercings, whether it be ear piercings, body piercings or facial piercings, but have you ever wondered about the origin of them?
Many of these piercings have been around for hundreds of years with strong ties to certain cultures’ practices and religious beliefs. In Middle Eastern cultures facial piercings are widely popular, specifically the nose piercing in Indian culture. Nose piercings in Indian culture have been found to date back to the 16th century and, although the significance differs region to region, in most cases, it has a direct link to marriage.
Nose piercings can be worn by anyone in the nostrils, septum, and the bridge of the nose, but in India, women typically wear them in the left nostril. In the practice of traditional Indian medicine, called Ayuvedra, piercing the left nostril is said to make childbirth easier and lessen menstrual pain.
In the Hindu religion, piercing the nose is seen as a way of honoring the Hindu Goddess of marriage, Parvathi. Hindu women following this tradition will get their noses pierced around the age of 16, which is seen as the age a woman can be married.
In some parts of India, the size of the nose ring is a sign of financial power and the family status. As the family’s status and finances increase, the size of the nose ring will also increase. In some cases, the man will propose to the woman using a nose ring, just as finger rings are used in western tradition.
In other cultures the bride would have her nose pierced as her wedding day approached. On the bride’s wedding day, as part of the sixteen beautification processes of a bride, a large nose piercing with precious gems is worn. The nose ring is connected to a chain that is fastened to her hair. Then on the honeymoon, the groom would remove the chain. Once married the bride always wears a nose ring, as it is considered to be a sign of a married woman. However, the jewelry is often removed upon the death of the woman’s husband.
Today many unmarried women and young girls in India wear nose rings as a fashion statement with no religious or traditional implications. The piercing is highly popular, not just in India but all over the world with all genders wearing it on both sides of the nose. Sometimes it is interesting to take a step back and find out why we do the things we do. Often times the answers can be incredibly fascinating. Who knew that nose piercings were traditionally connected to marriage?
Lexy Cummins is a senior at Kent State University in Ohio, majoring in magazine journalism and minoring in fashion media. She has strong interests in fashion, beauty and music. After graduation she hopes to write for a women’s or fashion magazine.
She is also an Ohio State licensed cosmetologist and plans to continue her beauty education in makeup application.