Materials and appearance
The choora is usually red and white; sometimes the red bangles are replaced with another colour, but they are usually only two colours. They are traditionally made of ivory, with inlay work, though now made with plastic. Traditionally there are 21 bangles, although more recently the bride often wears 7, 9 or 11 bangles. The bangles range in size according to the circumference of the top of the forearm and the wrist end so that the set fits neatly.
Wearing the choora is primarily a Punjabi tradition. Sindhoor and Mangalsutra— are other adornments worn by married women typically of Hindu religious background, not Sikhs . The custom is also observed in Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, and among the Punjabi Sikh community in Singapore. The choora ceremony (dahi-choora) is held on the morning of the wedding or the day before. The bride's maternal uncle and aunt give her a set of chooriyan.
Traditionally, the bride would wear a choora for a full year, although if a newly wed bride became pregnant before her first anniversary, the choora was taken off. When the color started to fade, her in-laws would actually have it re-colored, so everyone would know that she had been married for less than a year. On an auspicious Punjabi holiday, usually sankranti, after the first anniversary her in-laws would hold a small intimate ceremony in which the choora was removed and glass chooriyan (bangles) were placed on both hands. This usually was accompanied with mithai (Indian sweets) and a monetary shagun. The choora then was taken to a river and a prayer was said and it was left to float onto the water. Afterwards the woman could wear other choora in any colour for as long as she liked.
It is now normal for the bride to wear her choora for a month and a quarter (40 days). As the choora is made of fragile materials, Punjabi custom has it that the bride may refrain from heavy housework in her marital home to keep it intact for the 40 days, as a kind of honeymoon. After that, in traditional homes at least, she takes over the lion's share of domestic work from her mother-in-law.
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