Waist Beads: What You Should Know.

Waist Beads: What You Should Know.

Waist beads are a traditional African accessory that consist of small beads made from seeds or glass worn around waist or hips. 
They have been worn for centuries by women in many West African cultures. In Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, and other West African countries, waist beads are a symbol of femininity, fertility, sensuality, and spiritual well-being. 
However, they are also important tools for communication, used to express ideas, messages and symbolism through the language of colour. 


Did you know each colour has a specific meaning?

  • Blue: healing, harmony, insight, truth
  • Brown: earth, stability
  • Green: prosperity, fertility, abundance, hope, healing
  • Purple: spirituality, wisdom, royalty
  • Red: vitality, passion, bravery, confidence
  • White: light, truth, purity
  • Yellow: wisdom, clarity, awareness, energy, joy

Many women wear waist beads for different reasons such as:

Posture 

Waist beads can help a person become more aware of their posture. The beads fit differently depending on how one is sitting and breathing.

 

Intimacy and fertility 

Many women use waist beads in intimate situations to enhance their sensuality. Waist beads may also be closely associated with fertility. Some women wear specific beads during sex when they’re trying to conceive.

Among cultures in Ghana, larger beads or bells are added to a woman’s waist beads once she’s fertile so she makes noise when she walks to alert potential suitors nearby.

In other cultures, waist beads are worn under clothing for only the wearer and her chosen partners to see, similarly to a special set of lingerie.

Special waist beads are also available for pregnant women. They’re thought to provide protection for the mother and growing baby.

Weight Control

Rather than step on a scale, people can use waist beads to stay aware of any weight gain or loss in the abdomen. If you were to gain weight, the beads will sit higher on the waist or feel tight. Conversely, if you were to lose weight, the beads will feel loose and fall further down to the hips.

 

Maturity

In parts of the world where waist beads are a cultural tradition, the beads are often associated with womanhood, maturity, and growth. 
In many West African traditions, mothers tie a pair of waist beads onto daughters during their first menstruation to symbolize their passage into womanhood. 
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. 


Rites of Passage & Symbols of Growth 


In some west African countries mothers present waist beads to their daughters to mark their coming of age. Once she reaches sexual maturity, larger beads or bells may be added. This is so that, when a woman walks, the beads produce a sound to inform potential suitors of her availability.

 

Body Shaping

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.

 

And so what about you ? How man years have you had your beads on ?

 

 

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