Mangalsutra Necklace


“This is a known Hindu wedding tradition and one that my family follows as well. During the wedding, we have a tradition where the groom ties a necklace called the Mangalsutra around the bride’s neck. The Mangalsutra is a special necklace that has different designs but is generally made of black and gold beads that are uniquely decorated on the necklace.” 

“What is the significance of the necklace?”

“It represents the grooms commitment to the marriage, and shows that as long as the necklace is worn, the bond between the bride and the groom will stay strong”


“My informant is a classmate of mine who grew up in the United States, but has Hindu parents from India. He says that when he gets married, he intends to carry the tradition and give his wife a Mangalsutra necklace. He says that his parents have a very strong bond, and that to him, the Mangalsutra represents the bond between his parents that he would want to have with his wife someday. 


The tradition of the Mangalsutra is very similar to the prominent marriage tradition of exchanging wedding rings between the bride and groom. Because of this, the Mangalsutra necklace not only symbolizes the commitment and connection between the bride and groom, but its similarity with other traditions suggests that assigning such meanings to exchanged objects is a concept that supersedes an individual culture. Additionally, the fact that my informant did not grow up in a Hindu community shows that the relationships we have with family are crucial aspects to the significance of rituals and traditions. While the Mangalsutra more broadly represents the commitment and bond of a marriage in Hindu culture, to my informant, the association of the Mangalsutra with the marriage between his parents causes the Mangalsutra to represent a personalized connection between his parents that he hopes to recreate with his wife in the future.