Friday, July 8, 2011

The Folklore of Nose Piercing

It seemed only fitting that my friend Harminder Bhandal Singh would write a guest post about nose piercing. In India, her native land, nose piercing is commonplace and carries generations of tradition. Here's her take on the folklore of this fashion item:

Gaining main stream attention in the late 1900’s nose piercings have become very popular among many cultures and societies. The practice however, has been around for thousands of years. The earliest historic record of nose piercings comes from the Bible. Abraham gifted his daughter in law a beautiful nose ring as a wedding gift when she and Isaac married. The practice has continued through the ages and was brought to India in the 16th century by Middle Eastern Moghul emperors. It did not take long for the practice to gain in popularity.

The second most popular type of body piercing in the world after ears is the nose piercing. A part of traditional Australian Aboriginal culture, it has also long been a tradition in Nepal and India. In India the practice of nose piercings has very deep roots and, in some cases, has specific cultural significance. However, first and foremost it is believed that the nose is the most prominent feature on the face and piercing it actually accentuates the face. In some southern Indian communities a majority of women have their noses pierced sometime before their wedding. It is very common for the groom’s family to include a nose ring as part of the bride’s wedding jewelry. This item is generally made of gold and diamonds. This jewelry is given to the bride as a wedding gift and remains her security for life as it is given as an investment for the couple by the parents and other relatives.

The most common forms of nose rings are either a Phul (stud) or a Nath ( nose ring). The Phul is lighter and smaller where as a Nath is much heavier and sometimes includes a chain that is placed behind the ear for extra support. In many cultures the size and the type of nose ring can denote the family’s wealth and status.

Nose piercing is also common in India because it is linked to Ayuvedra (ancient Indian medicine). According to Ayuvedra it is believed that the left nostril contains a bundle of nerves that are linked to the female reproductive system. Having those nerves pierced is believed to make child birth less painful and to also decrease pains associated with the menstrual cycle.

Nose piercing was brought to the west in the late 1960’s by travelers. The practice made its way to the United States by the Beatles after they traveled to India on their world tour. The “Fav Four” was very impressed by this art as they toured throughout India. The practice became for American teens a form of rebellion. It was frowned upon by adults and mainstream society.

Today almost forty years later the practice has not only become acceptable but is seen as very fashionable by both adults and teens.

My daughter, now 17, had her nose pierced about two years ago. The diamond stud is delicate and looks really nice. I am glad she didn't opt for something larger and more cumbersome to wear and that she didn't receive it as a wedding gift! She's still too young!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. My daughter also got her nose pierced about two years ago! I am also happy that she stuck to something small and doesn't change it.