Shakha Paula bangles are mandatorily worn by married Bengali women. Shakha comes from Shankha, meaning conch while the Paula is made of corals. One set of the bangle is worn on each hand by every married woman.
This ceremonial symbol has great historical significance as well. In the ancient days, Bengali farmers used to collect conch shells and gift them to their wives. After sometime they used to powder the shells and make bangles out of them. They were greatly skilled at making red bangles that were made of red corals and called Paula. The women used to love this gesture and it became an important part of the Bengali wedding rituals. Without a Shakha Paula ceremony a wedding cannot be complete.
Shakha Paula signifies good health and prosperity. This is given by the husband and symbolizes strength and unity of their marriage. Also it needs to be made sure that the bangles do not break during the first year of marriage as that signifies extremely bad luck for the bride.
The Shakha Paula ceremony is pretty unique. It starts early in the morning and both the bangles are dipped in turmeric water. Then seven married women of the family adorn the wife’s hands with these bangles. It is believed that seven ladies represents seven goddesses. These Shakha Paula are presented to the wife by her mother.
Over time, Shaka Paula fashion has increased tremendously. Before it used to be simple, but these days you can find variety of them with pretty and intricate carvings. Some Bengali brides prefer to wear designed thick Shaka and smooth Paula or viceversa. This combination is very popular and liked by many. However, few wear carved Shaka and Paula. The choices are many, here we present many such bangle designs. Pin up your favorite one if you are a Bengali bride!