What makes weddings beautiful are the little things related to culture and custom. A Bengali wedding is unique for the custom of the bride holding betel leaves to hide her face. Elaborate mehndi on the hands and feet of the bride in north Indian weddings look romantic, beautiful and grand at the same time. Such a thing is the poola jada that forms an essential part of south Indian weddings. A poola jada is a unique hair accessory, made from fresh flowers, which a south Indian bride wears on her head. “Poola” means flowers and “Jada” means braid. It looks royal, divine and of course uniquely beautiful.
Poola Jada – Make This South Indian Tradition a Part of Your Bridal Attire
They say that it is the poola jada that makes a simple young girl feel like a princess. Poola jadas come in many different types, designs and colours. They come in vibrant colours such as red, purple, yellow, pink etc. They come with a traditional round or semi-circular top adornment. This can be attached to the top of the braid or can be wound around a bun at the top of the braid. The poola jada can be worn in colour coordination with the saree of the bride which in most cases is a Kanjivaram or Kanchipuram r saree. Thus while making a poola jada, fresh flowers are combined with golden accessories to complement the saree.
A south Indian wedding starts very early in the morning and continues for a long time. The bride is required to change sarees for the different rituals. This is why two things need to be kept in mind before creating the poola jada.
∙ First of all, the poola jada needs to be sturdy enough to stay in place during sarees changes for the various rounds of rituals. Additionally, the beautician who is doing the makeup and hair of the bride needs to attach the poola jada well into the braid so that flowers don’t fall out of the poola jada or it does not get detached from the braid.
∙ Secondly, such flowers need to be chosen for the poola jada that remains fresh for longer. It is a traditional belief that red coloured flowers stay fresh for longer. Orchids may also be used as they don’t get droopy or shrink very quickly. In this context, it should be mentioned that though not a traditional practice, poola jadas made up of artificial flowers are also available in the market and online.
Types of poola jada commonly worn by brides in south Indian weddings-
∙ Flower Petals Poola Jada – These are either bought from the market or made by the women in the family of the bride. This type of poola jada has simple circular designs that go all the way down the braid.
∙ Kasu Netted Poola Jada – Though these poola jadas have the traditional top floral semi-circle, the braids are adorned with a net pattern made up of fresh flower buds. These nets are woven with Lakshmi Kasu.
∙ Jada Billalu Poola Jada – Instead of flowers, in this type of poola jada style, small pieces of golden jewellery is used to adorn the braid of the bride. Though a bit heavier compared to the floral poola jadas, this creates an extremely rich look. Poola jadas may also come in a combination of flowers and jewellery.
∙ Jada Kuppulu Poola Jada – Jada Kuppulu is a hair accessory made up of silk threads and golden ornaments. It usually hangs at the bottom of the braid. A poola jada with jada kuppulu is a mark of tradition and symbolizes wealth.
∙ Modern Style Poola Jada – These have a sleek design that in many ways resemble the Kasu netted poola jada. It is lighter and does not come in traditional circular floral designs. This is why it is preferred by brides these days. This type of poola jada is contemporarily most popular among brides.
∙ Jasmine Poola Jada – This is the most traditional kind of poola jada that has been worn by south Indian brides since centuries. South Indian women consider jasmine as an essential part of their vanity and in ancient times, jasmine was believed to have brain-calming properties. The fragrance of the flower is also very romantic.
Significance of Wearing a Poola Jada
In south Indian culture, flowers in the hair are considered a sign of auspiciousness and vanity. Poola jadas, originally, were made using jasmine flowers only. Thus it can be assumed that the tradition might have originated from ancient beauty rituals and Ayurveda. Jasmine and other flowers were used in the ancient times to perfume the hair naturally and floral fragrances were believed to calm the brain.
A long braid is not only a sign of beauty in south India, but it also has deep cultural roots. The poola jada is used to adorn the bride’s braid. It is not only a hairstyle but an auspicious custom. The poola jada is either tied to the braid or sewn into it.
Another interesting aspect associated with the poola jada is the veni which the semi-circular arrangement of flowers that adorn the bun at the top of the braid. “Veni” is a Marathi word and this kind of traditional can also be seen in Marathi bridal rituals.
Poola jadas are often seen with kundans, golden trinkets and motifs that might remind one of south Indian temple jewellery. In this context, one should mention the Naga Jadai or a golden hair accessory that has the engraving of Lord Krishna dancing on the head of Kaliya. This is a very heavy piece of braid accessory that resembles the poola jada. Bharat Natyam dancers have to wear poola jadas as part of their performance attire. Bharat Natyam is a form of temple dance. This brings us to the fact that the tradition of wearing poola jada on the wedding day may in some way be associated with south Indian temple traditions and rituals. How the tradition entered the domain of marriage remains buried in the pages of history.
Finding the perfect poola jada or getting the ideal one made for you may be a complicated task in itself. Thus we have a few tips that you can follow-
∙ Think about investing in extensions. The original length of your hair may not be long enough to make a full braid that reaches your waistline. Poola jada will not look good on a short braid. Thus speak to your hair and makeup artist and decide on what kind of extensions you would like to use for your wedding.
∙ The flowers you use on your poola jada should be colour coordinated with your saree. Only then will the hairstyle and the attire complement each other.
∙ Brides these days don’t wear only floral poola jadas. Some form of golden embellishment always accompanies it. You need to choose your poola jada jewellery carefully. First of all, the design of the kundans or motifs should complement your bridal jewellery otherwise the former will look completely out of place. For example, if you are wearing pure gold jewellery do not wear a poola jada with stone embellishments.
∙ Also, make sure that you do not pile up too many embellishments on your braid. This will weigh your head down and give you a headache.
∙ Jasmines, roses and orchids are the most popular flowers used for the poola jada. This is because jasmine and rose are traditional components of the adornment and have invigorating fragrances. Orchids have become popular these days because they stay fresh for a really long time.
∙ While choosing the flowers for your poola jada, don’t go for shades of orchids that contrast your saree. This will not look good.
∙ Purchasing a poola jada made up of fresh flowers can be somewhat tricky. You need to purchase one only 5-6 hours prior to the wedding ceremonies or maybe the night before and then refrigerate it. Purchasing one anytime before the previous night will not be a good decision to make as the flowers will not last the entire wedding ceremony. If there are issues with purchasing a fresh flower poola jada just before the wedding, we suggest that you invest in one that is made up of artificial flowers and golden motifs.
∙ Another plus point of purchasing a poola jada made up of artificial flowers is that it will cost you less. Fresh flower poola jadas are priced between Rs 5000- Rs 9000 while those made up of artificial flowers cost between Rs 2000-Rs 5000. Moreover, you can store the artificial flower poola jada in your accessory drawer and use it later in another occasion like a puja or another wedding.
∙ In the end, you should keep one thing in mind – a poola jada is a custom, a tradition. It is a gorgeous way to adorn your hair. However, your hairdo is just a part of your whole attire. Thus it should not overpower your entire look. In the end, your saree and your jewellery should remain the most important components of your bridal look.
How to Make a Poola Jada
Making a simple poola jada is not difficult but it requires a lot of patience and time. Today we will tell you how to make a basic type of poola jada. You can make any of this for your own, or your friend’s or your sister’s wedding.
DIY Rose and Jasmine Poola Jada
You will need:
- Jasmine buds
- Red rose petals
- Cardboard/thick cloth/thick leaves (teak or jackfruit leaf)
- Needle and thread
- Threads for strings
∙ Cut out the cardboard or thick cloth (like jute) or thick leaves (life teak or jackfruit leaf) into small circular discs. Make sure that the circumference of the disks is approximately the same or a little less than the surface thickness of your braid.
∙ Now take the jasmine buds and sew them on the disks, first making an outer circle with the buds facing outwards. Now follow the same pattern and create an inner circle of jasmine buds. Trim the stalks of the buds of the inner circle to give the design a clean and complete look.
∙ Now take 2-3 fresh rose petals at a time and fold them into a couple of pleats. Take a long needle with a thread and insert the pleated petals one after another. Insert a jasmine bud between each pleated petals as spacers. Make sure all the pleated petals look alike.
∙ When the arrangement of the petals and the buds are long enough, cut off the bottom portion of the petals and the jasmine stalks.
∙ Now push the arrangement of the petals and the buds on to the thread from the needle and cut the thread at the desired length. This will give you something that will resemble a small garland. Now tie the ends of the threads together and make a knot to form a circle. This will give you a beautiful circular design with the petals and the buds.
∙ The rose petal disc should be slightly larger than the jasmine bud disc. Now place the jasmine bud disc on the rose petal disc and place a small circular kundan of your choice in the centre of the jasmine bud disc.
∙ Place the whole thing on foam or cardboard and sew them together. Make sure whatever you use as the base – foam or cardboard or cloth – it is not too heavy. This is because if it is heavy it will weigh the bride’s hair down.
∙ The base needs to have strings attached to it to tie it to the braid. Making 10-12 such discs should be enough to adorn the bride’s braid.
Poola jadas today have moved beyond the south Indian wedding. Indian brides in other parts of the country and abroad also love to adorn their wedding hairstyle with the poola jada. The poola jada never fails to bedazzle the relatives and friends of the Indian bride. Poola jadas are also worn on other occasions like certain pujas. If you want to wear a poola jada for your wedding, seek the help of a professional poola jada creator. Beautiful poola jadas need highly skilled hands.