You must have heard of these really pretty baubles that are of Punjabi origin. These aren't merely pieces of jewels to be worn on the wrists. In fact, there's an important and significant meaning connected with these.
What is a Kalira?
Kaliras or Kaleeras or Kalire are umbrella-shaped ornaments in gold or silver metals that have a string of chains which are attached to the chooda or the wedding bangles of a Punjabi bride.
Where did it originate?
Some experts are of the view that Kaliras first came into existence in the 20th century in the region of Punjab. There's an interesting background story to it wherein it said that a bride was given half-cut dried coconuts that were tied to her bangles so that she could eat them and not feel hungry, during her journey from her own place to her groom's house.
Kaliras are worn by all Punjabi brides and it doesn't matter what status they come from. Traditionally, the Kaliras were made with shells, flowers and beaded strings which were tied to the chuda of the bride either by her own sister, cousin or sister-in-law. No matter what Kalira design or Punjabi chuda design a bride is wearing, it symbolises prosperity and good luck for her so she can successfully begin her new journey of new life in the new family.
There is a specific ritual ceremony performed by the family of the bride for her which is held on the morning of the wedding day. Umbrella shaped ornaments are tied to the bridal bangles. Some Kalire can be made with silver or gold metals and there are a number of leaves added to the design which denote the number of friends the bride has. All the girlfriends and sisters of the bride sit one by one and the bride shakes her Kalire over their head. It is said if a leaf or a part of the Kalire falls over any of these unmarried's girl's head, she would be soon getting married. This tradition is somewhat similar to the bouquet throwing ceremony held by a Christian bride.
Once the marriage takes place between a married couple, they visit gurudwara to seek holy blessings and it is at this time that the bride leaves one Kalira at the gurudwara only as a token of respect to the priest to seek his blessings.
The wide variety available in Kalire-
Kaliras are available in all sorts of designs and styles nowadays. Modern brides like to keep everything perfect for their wedding day and this is why they pick Kaliras that match their exorbitant outfit for their wedding. The Kalire come decorated with colourful stones and beads. However, silver or gold Kaliras are the most popular ones. Gold Kaliras with gold and pearls beads strings are also quite loved by the brides. Even though these were first tied to the chudas of the bride but now the Kalire come with attached bangles and some even have ghunghroos and charms attached at the bottom. The styles can be customised as per a bride's choice.