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Beads, Romance and Family

Since beads play such a large role in all aspects of life, it is not surprising that they have roles to play in matters of the heart and hearth.

Beads are involved in courting. In Ghana, boys make a special bead to give to girls they like and girls wear masses of beads to attract a mate. In both India among the Maria Ghond and South Africa among the Zulu seed beads speak the story of love. In the former case, girls give boys necklaces when they like them. In the latter, small beaded squares serve as messages. Courting has its difficulties. While this page has nothing about beads, it is a touching story I have paraphrased from an Indian newspaper.

Marriage is usually the next step. Beads, not wedding rings, are given to a bride in India and the type of beads can tell a lot about who she is. In addition to beads, married women in India wear bangles, technically related to beads. Breaking them is kept a dark secret. All jewelry must be destroyed if she is widowed.

And then come babies. They are often given beads, and not just the alphabet beads once used in hospitals for their names.

Even before the birth of a child, the expectant mother sometimes wears special beads. Such customs are found in
Mexico, Iran and West Africa, amongst other places.


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