Reasons Waist Beads are termed Spiritual, Colours; why you need them

Reasons Waist Beads are termed Spiritual, Colours; why you need them

There are many reasons why waist beads were, and still are, an intricate aspect of African (and now American) culture.

 

Many women these days are going back to the long old tradition and many are/have wondering/wondered why. Some just pick ‘sexiness’ to save em the stress, but that’s not all. Its a whole lot to wear waist beads than meet the eyes unless it is being abused. Point is you need to respect any woman on waist beads, you need to respect the African Heritage Tradition.

 

Waist beads can be visible as a symbol of femininity, celebration, or aristocracy, or hidden as a way of self-care or confidence or intimate appeal. There are many reasons why waist beads were, and still are, an intricate aspect of African (and now American) culture.

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What are waist beads?
Waist beads are a traditional African accessory that consist of small glass beads on a string or wire worn around the waist or hips. They come in different colors and shapes and may also include decorative stones, crystals, or charms.

 

They have been worn for centuries by women in many West African cultures. In more recent years they’ve gained popularity among women in the West. They’re also referred to as belly beads, waistline beads, or beaded waist chains.

In Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and other West African countries, waist beads are a symbol of femininity, fertility, sensuality, and spiritual well-being. Today, in both Africa and the United States, women use waist beads for aesthetic and practical purposes. In-fact the entertainment industry have come to enhance its need, though in a more sexual way.

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Brief History on Waist Beads

Aside from Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and so on,  waist beads can be traced back to ancient Egypt. The Egyptian dancers were usually adorned with braids and waist beads. The history of waist beads can be traced back as early as the 15th century.

 

Once you can imagine this, then you shouldn’t have missed it in Igbo and Yoruba lands, especially the fore, waist beads depicts wealth, beauty and power. When a correct woman with waist beads passes, everything rises.

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Reasons why you need to wear Waist Beads

One of the most beautiful aspects of wearing waist beads is the prominence of individuality when choosing the colors and materials of the beads.

 

For example, Ghanaian girls may be presented with waist beads as a token of their “coming-of-age” into womanhood. They can also represent what class a woman is in, her economic status, and fertility. Traditionally unmarried women of the Yoruba tribe wear an ileke, also known as waist beads or waist chains. Waist beads are romantic, fashionable and attract attention to the waist by making the waist appear slimmer and bringing out the curves of the hips. Modern-day wear includes decorative adornment and waist and weight management.

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In the East Africa, according to Google Arts & Culture, “Glass beads were introduced on the east coast of Africa by Arab and (from the 16th to 18th centuries) Portuguese traders, and reached southern Africa in small quantities through internal trade.” Wearing waist beads is largely popular across East African countries as well; women can add essential oils to their bead strings in order to promote healing properties and utilize them in similar ways as the Diaspora (i.e. promoting fertility, puberty, or class.

 

The influence of waist beads spans across several countries and spreads to the Caribbean as well. Southern parts of Africa utilize waist beads in unique ways as well. Notably, women in Zambia and Malawi use their beads while pregnant or in order to seduce their husbands.

 

1. A Symbol of Femininity and Sensuality
Some like to call them “colorful strands of femininity.” They’re handmade strands, usually made by women for women of any and all body types and sizes. Traditional Ghanaian and Nigerian culture wears waist beads to specifically signify femininity (as well as wealth and practical usage such as an anchor for a menstrual cloth).

For some women they would wear their beads under their clothes – which only allowed their lover to see them as a meaning of sanctity and purity between the two. For some, the beads are a means of seduction to provoke desire. Sometimes, wives would use the rattling of the beads to communicate their fertility.

 

2. Rites of Passage & Symbols of Growth/Maturity

In parts of the world where waist beads are a cultural tradition, the beads are often associated with womanhood, maturity, and growth.

Waist beads were a rite of passage for some cultures. Mothers would ornament their daughters with beads during their first menstruation as a ceremonial rite of passage into womanhood. Each time new waist beads were inherited, it symbolized a healthy life, growth, and maturity.

 

Interestingly, in Ghana, babies are meant to be traditionally adorned with waist beads during their naming ceremonies. Only girls, however, continue to wear the beads as they grow older.

In many West African traditions, mothers tie a pair of waist beads onto daughters during their first menstruation to symbolize their passage into womanhood. In Yoruba land, mothers adorned their girls with waist beads from as low as 3years of age. Though there is a general joke that this is meant for ‘lepa’ (slim) babies since they can boast of hips (ibadi).

Outgrowing a pair of waist beads may also mark the transition into a new stage of life. The beads a girl wears during puberty will differ from the beads she wears after her first child, for example.

 

Heritage and pride
While women of all races and ethnicities wear waist beads, this accessory has unmistakably African origins. Waist beads are a popular way for black women in the diaspora to connect to their ancestors and celebrate their heritage and cultural practices.

 

Today, the usage of waist beads by black and brown women in the West has evolved into a cultural tradition of its very own, one that reflects the diasporic experience.

 

Many women in the diaspora don’t have direct knowledge of their West African lineage due to the transatlantic slave trade. Reclaiming waist beads also means black women can reclaim the opportunity to walk in their ancestors’ footsteps. The beads are a constant physical reminder that heritage is never as far away as you may think, and it’s up for personal interpretation.

Five (5) Reasons why you need to wear Waist Beads [History]
Five (5) Reasons why you need to wear Waist Beads [History]
3. Measurements and Body Shaping/Weight awareness
Both traditionally and in modern times, women will wear waist beads to get/keep their bodies intact. It is said that the beads shape your body and keep the waist small and hips accentuated. It was (and still is) used as a measurement tool. The beads do not stretch, so if/when the waist beads start to feel a little tight, it’s a sign that there was some weight gain, and vice versa.

Waist beads are commonly used to gauge changes in weight. Rather than step on a scale, people can use waist beads to stay aware of any weight gain or loss in the abdomen. Unlike the numbers on a scale, waist beads are more compatible with body positivity. Women of all sizes and shapes can comfortably wear waist beads to adorn their body.

There are even adjustable waist beads available if you don’t want the beads to fit differently based on your weight or changes like bloating.

 

4. The Formation of The Beads
In a traditional sense, the person making your waist beads is usually a highly spiritual person and even if you have to go pick ready-made its important you don’t just pick for the glitters or trend. Your beads becomes part of you, its not a necklace that you can just remove all the time; so its very important you connect with it. Your right beads can never irritate you within 6 months to 1 year. Its like picking a pet. The beads, shells, stones, and other things that may go on your waist are picked and placed with the intention of something or somethings very specific.

For Marriage, the beads a woman wears for her husband will be vastly different from the ones a young girl wears into her transition into womanhood.

The trend of waist beads has become very modernized and ornamental, but traditionally, the potency and power of a woman’s beads as it relates to spirituality and development were very specific and intentional and no matter how you overlook em, they are still intact.

 

5. Colors and Meaning
Speaking of intention, the colors of the beads also have very specific significations. These meanings may vary from tribe to tribe, culture to culture, and they’re open to interpretation, but traditionally:

Blue: knowledge, healing, peace, truth, harmony — a cooling color symbolizing faith, devotion, deep insight.

Green: prosperity, hope, harmony, healing and ripening, generous, humble.

Red: self-confidence, vitality, sexual energy, passion, courage.

Yellow: wisdom, knowledge, clarity, increasing awareness, and calming nerves.

Five (5) Reasons why you need to wear Waist Beads [History]
Five (5) Reasons why you need to wear Waist Beads [History]
Interestingly, on a health level, the waist beads can also help awareness on your posture level.

 

How do I choose the right waist beads for your body?
The best thing about waist beads is how individual they are. Like I mentioned earlier, its not a play thing, you must be connected.

You can wear as many strands of beads as you like, and you can wear them for whatever reason you want. They’re a powerful means of self-expression.

 

To measure yourself for waist beads, you have to think about where you want it to sit on your body. Do you want them high on your waist? Down at your hips? or Right at your belly button?

 

After you decide, wrap measuring tape or string around that part of your body to get the measurement. If you’re using a string, mark on the string where the two ends meet, then measure that length with a ruler. Try not to wrap the string or tape too snugly around your body. It will result in a tighter fit than you may anticipate.

Five (5) Reasons why you need to wear Waist Beads [History]
Five (5) Reasons why you need to wear Waist Beads [History]
Some waist beads are permanent. That means the string doesn’t stretch, and there’s no clasp to take the beads on or off. They’re designed to stay on your body 24/7 until they break or you decide to cut them off for good.

 

Some removable waist beads are also adjustable or come with extender chains. These may be a good option for people who want to continue wearing the same waist beads at any size without worrying about “fitting” into them. Instead, the beads fit you.

 

Once you have his settled, including colour choice, head to the best shops Online or Offline and look for your want till you find the exact match – there is always a match once you follow the above.

 

So now that you have all of this information, adorn your waist this summer! The beads will be sure to add a stylish yet meaningful addition to your outfits and swimsuits this season.

 

Cheers to a Happy Life.

 

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