The kalires are primarily a Punjabi and Himachali wedding tradition. The kalires are the dome-shaped or umbrella-like hangings attached to the choodas or bangles of the bride. The kalires signify marital happiness, love and bond between the newlywed couple. They also signify abundance of food and prosperity in the household the bride is going to.
The kalire ceremony takes place on the morning of the wedding just after the chooda ceremony. The bride’s sisters and friends attach the kalires to the bangles on the wrist of the bride. They take turns to do so. In certain communities, the kalires are supposed to remind the bride of the unmarried cousins and sisters she leaves behind at her maternal home. Probably from this thought originates the much loved custom of the bride shaking her kalires on the heads of her non-married sisters and friends. If a part of the kalire falls on the head of any girl, it is believed that she will soon be getting married.
Customs involving the chooda or the kalire are centuries old. In the old times, kalires were not mere ornaments. Kalires would be made from edible items like coconut, fox nuts and other snacks. In those times, traversing the distance between the bride’s maternal home and her husband’s home meant journeying for many hours, if not days. During that time, the new bride, if hungry, could munch on these dry edible items instead of asking her husband or in-laws for food. If you observe a kalire closely, you will see that the top umbrella-shaped objects look like coconut shells and the smaller attachments resemble fox nuts.
Kalires nowadays are definitely not made up of edible items! Neither are they made up of precious metals. They involve the use of metallic foil to form intricate details and are colored golden. Ornamentation with tiny buds made from fabrics like organza, bead and pearl details, chains etc are common. There is no tradition involving the color of the kalire. They are usually golden but if you want you can get them in any color and design – in floral details, bejewelled or in a chain based design etc. Keep one thing in mind – they are supposed to be hanging from your wrists and are attached to the choodas. So the lighter they are, the more convenient it will be for you!
GetEthnic has a wide variety of bridal kalire designs involving traditional gold foil work, chains, beads etc. We also have kalireswith minakari work, kalires in unconventional shapes, single-tier kalires etc.