What It Is: The Bridal Bindi

It's arguably one of the most recognized characteristics of Indian makeup and ethnic wear: the bridal bindi. Adorning a bride's face, the bridal bindi is typically found nestled between her brows. While historically the bindi was red and white, the past few years have seen it transform into a unique and completely individualized piece of jewellery, coming in sticker gems of all different colours, shapes and patterns—including . Seriously, you can match one to every outfit!

As with most things cultural, the bindi has become well-known in Western culture, but not for the *best* reasons. The last two decades have seen it become popularized via non-South Asian celebs. Most noticeably, singer Gwen Stefani started wearing them in the mid 90s as part of her "look". Since then, other celebs have followed suite, wearing bindis in music videos, at award shows (we're looking at you Selena Gomez) and festivals (*ahem* Coachella) as just another sparkly accessory—and the effect has trickled down into streetstyle.

But they're not *just* pretty stickers for celebs to add to their outfits, they're a work of art. Traditionally, the bindi is elaborately painted on a bride's forehead. Bengali brides especially can often be found with a red and white design along their eyebrows (think Aishwarya Rai in Devdas), a tradition and process that holds a special place in marital festivities.

And they have a lot of meaning. For brides who choose to wear them, the bindi stands as a signifier of their marital status and new role as a partner and wife.

The positioning of the bindi is influential outside of marriage as well. Harkening all the way back to Vedic texts, the bindi was meant to mark the centre between the eyebrows as the third eye—an area of wisdom and the gateway to spiritual insight. Now, it's not unusual to see female wedding guests adorning their foreheads with these gorgeous gems as well.

Whether you're planning on taking a walk down the aisle, or are just looking to appreciate the significance of the bindi by wearing one yourself, there's a bindi for everyone. Buy yours, exclusively at ShopBollyWear.com!

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