Choora

The choora ceremony (also called chuda, chura, or chooda) describes the gift of wedding bangles to the bride by her maternal uncles before her wedding ceremony. This may occur the night before the wedding, or the morning of the festivities. The bride’s family sits on the floor, and everyone present covers their heads, including the bride and her uncles.

The choora are immersed in a mixture of milk and water, while the bride sits with her eyes closed, as she is not to see the choora before they are on her hands. Milk is used in many Hindu rituals, likely because of its link to the sacred cow, and because it is considered pure and cleansing. While the bride’s eyes are closed, her maternal uncles will place the choora on her wrists, and her female family members will gift her jewelry, clothing, or money to wish her well on her wedding day.

The bride’s family will also tie a red thread around her wrist, called a moli (or mauli). In addition, the bride’s unwed sisters and female cousins will tie kalire to her first choora on each hand.

Choora are special occasion bangles, not to be worn again. They are wider than most bangles, and because they are to be worn as a set they increase in size so the bangles farthest up the bride’s arm do not pinch her skin. Many modern brides will ask that their uncles match their chooras to their wedding outfits.

Traditionally, brides wore chooras for a long time — usually one year, or until their mother-in-law granted them permission to remove the bangles. This practice was a way of noting that the young woman was a newlywed even after her mehndi wore off, though it is less common in this age of engagement rings and wedding bands.