Haldi - Kunkum

May it be any festival, ritual or celebration, haldi-Kunkum are an integral part of all Hindu customs. These hues are applied on the forehead, between the eyebrows in small circular tilaks. Each has its own significance and properties, lets learn about it.

In Ayurveda, Haldi has been used for both medical and cosmetic properties. Primarily, it is a first aid antiseptic that stops bleeding and prevents infection. Turmeric milk is prescribed for ailing persons due to its catalytic role in recovery. Application on the face gives the skin a glowing effect, reducing acne.

Haldi also has an important role in many Hindu ceremonies, such as the haldi ceremony before the wedding. It symbolises the purification of the bride, washing off her sins to begin a new fruitful life, transforming into a woman from a girl. The family applies turmeric liberally on her feet, hands and face, wishing her good luck for the future.

Accompanying Haldi is Kunkum, the red hue that represents Hinduism. It is applied by men and women and little girls too, the only difference being that men apply it in a vertical or round-styled tilak. Married women, along with the circular tilak, they apply Kunkum in their hair parting beginning at the forehead. This form is named Sindoor, and it symbolises her status as a suvasini /saubhagywati (married woman).

Kunkum is associated with energy and strength of a person, even bringing focus and calm in times of agitation. It is said to ward off the evil eye, or others’ maleficent intent directed at someone.

Women celebrate a function called Haldi-Kunkum. It is a social gathering in India in which married women exchange Haldi (turmeric) and Kunkum (vermilion), as a symbol of their married status and praying for their husband’s long lives. Haldi-Kunkum is celebrated on most of the festive days like Makar Sankranti, Navratri, Chaitra maas, Sharavan maas, Gauri-ganpati, Tulsi vivah, etc. It finds its origins as a means to encourage friendship and celebration of womanhood as there were restriction in old era.

It is also used to decorate the Kalash in pooja, pooja thali, rangoli, foot impression of the Lakshmi, arti and many other things related to pooja or festival. The presence of the Haldi Kunkum always brings auspicious indication to our mind.


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