Haldi kumkum is an Indian social ritual where women exchange vermilion powder (kumkum) and turmeric powder (haldi). The ceremony takes place on a religious occasion such as a wedding, Diwali, or the festival of Pongal. It is also a way for newly married women to show respect to their elders by asking for their blessings. The ritual is popular in the western states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.
The word “kumkum” is derived from the Hindi word “kumkuma,” meaning “to kiss.” In India, kumkum is used to signify love and respect. It is also a symbol of a bride’s purity. The haldi ceremony is one of the most significant events in a Hindu woman’s life, as it represents the beginning of her new journey as a wife.
A haldi kumkum is typically held at the home of the bride or her mother. The house is decorated with flower garlands and a haldi kumkum pitha. The bride wears her favorite saree or kurta and adorns herself with traditional jewellery.
Before the haldi kumkum, a bride’s friends and family gather at the house to offer their best wishes for the bride. They smear haldi on the forehead and cheeks of the bride, wishing her happiness in her new life. They may also apply a tilgul on her head or shoulders. A tilgul is a small piece of red powder that has been ground together from a combination of ingredients such as saffron, karamchand (a berry), and kusumba (a flower).
Use of Haldi Kumkum
The haldi kumkum ceremony also involves applying haldi to the bride’s feet and hands. This is done to protect her from any negative energies that could come her way. The haldi is rubbed into the skin and into the hair, making it look a little yellow and messy. After the haldi, the woman is asked to bathe and take a shower. She is then allowed to leave the house.
Besides being a fun and festive affair, the haldi kumkum also serves as a chance for newly-married women to get blessings from other successful wives. This is why many of the women choose to wear their most beautiful sarees or kurtas for this event.
Another important aspect of a haldi kumkum event is that the bindis, or red dots, must be perfect. Women who are not nimble-fingered can use circular discs and hollow pie coins to make the red dots. The bindis can also be made of other ingredients, including saffron ground together with kasturi.
In addition to being used for decorative purposes, kumkum can be used as a dye. It can help to differentiate between fibro-osseous tissues and red blood cells in histopathology. However, further studies are needed to determine its longevity and efficacy as a stain for soft tissue sections. For now, it is considered to be a good substitute for routine H and E in histopathology.