In India, the red bindi is a sign of love and empowerment.
On World Fair Trade Day, Saturday, May 14th, we want to use the bindi as a symbol of our respect for mothers and women artisans around the world. And, you can join us by dropping by any of the Global Gifts stores for a FREE bindi on Saturday!
Our bindis have been graciously provided by our fair trade partners at Matr Boomie.
But exactly what is a bindi?
The word bindi (in Hindi, बिंदी) means "point." Functionally speaking, it's a red dot of varying materials, worn on the center of the forehead. The bindi has a historical and cultural presence in South Asia and especially the Indian subcontinent. It is not a practice that's restricted to any one caste, religion, or region.
- employed simply as a cosmetic mark to enhance beauty
- used as a method of honoring one's intellect (by both men and women)
- representing honor, love and prosperity
- as a focal point during meditation
Traditionally the bindi is red or maroon in colour -- a pinch of vermilion powder applied skillfully with the ring-finger to make a perfect red dot. It takes considerable practice to achieve the perfect round shape by hand so for beginners, a small template aids application. These days, the bindi is no longer restricted in colour or shape.
Apart from their cosmetic use, bindis have also found a modern medical application in India. Iodine patch bindis are used among women in north-west Maharashtra to battle iodine deficiency.
Our intent is to stand in solidarity with mothers everywhere, and to celebrate the accomplishments of these artisan partners around the world.