The mysterious case of the ancient tradition of sindoor

The receptionist at the hotel wanted to see a copy of my passport, visa and our marriage certificate before giving us our room key.

My husband applies the red powder, sindoor, into my hairline every day. I have been wearing sindoor since our Gandharva marriage (Hindu love marriage), I had to apply it myself whilst I was in England (which was met with curiosity from others) but it feels much more special now … Continue reading

My First Karva Chauth

The moon, Chanda. on my first Karva Chauth

Today was my first Karva Chauth and also my first fast! Karva Chauth is an annual Hindu festival observed by married women. The women fast from sunrise until moon rise on the fourth day after the full moon in the Kartik month … Continue reading

Wearing sindoor in England

Since returning to England I have continued to wear sindoor. It is uncommon to see anyone wearing sindoor here, even among the Indian Brits so the red powder in my hair has caused some curiosity and lots of questions.

Wearing Sindoor in England

Whilst at work I am regularly questioned about my sindoor. Here are a couple of examples:

  • “Did you hit your head and cut yourself?”
  • “Oh that thing on your head looks really painful, what happened?”
  • “Did you dye your hair?”
  • “Why do you have red stuff on your head?”
  • “Is that a Muslim thing?”
  • “What is that?” (whilst waving a finger extremely close to my face)

Just today a lovely woman asked “What does the red powder symbolise? It looks very beautiful”. So sweet of her to ask nicely, quite a few people have asked in a really hostile tone. I told her the reasons I wear sindoor…

The main reason I, personally, wear sindoor everyday is that applying sindoor everyday reminds me of the moment we became husband and wife.  It is traditional for married Hindu women to wear sindoor in the parting of their hair, this tradition is more than 5,000 years old. A symbol of their desire for their husband to live a long life as the Goddess Parvati protects all men whose wives wear sindoor. Applying this red powder also supposed to activates the third-eye (ajna) and crown (sahasrara) chakras and brings health and prosperity to married life.

I may be thousands of miles away from my husband now but applying sindoor proudly everyday somehow gives me an extra dose strengthI don’t mind when strangers (politely) ask me “what is that on your head?” because I am very proud to wear sindoor and can openly share my reasons for wearing it (and enjoy seeing the relief on their faces when they find out I don’t have a head injury!).

Looking to buy sindoor online? Try my favourite liquid brand… USUKIndia