Why do married women wear a mangalsutra around the neck?
Mangal refers to the planet Mars. Mangal also means auspicious. Sutra denotes thread. Therefore, Mangalsutra literally means an auspicious thread. According to Hindu custom, married women wear a mangalsutra around the neck since it is symbolic of a woman being married. With time the thread is now a string of black beads interspersed with golden beads. Depending upon individual pockets, the mangalsutra comes in a wide variety of styles. However, the black beads prevail in all designs.
Irrespective of the jewellery a woman may wear, the mangalsutra has special significance. It is the symbol of good luck. Wearing it brings good fortune. It also symbolizes the love between the couple. No woman wants to part with it for any kind of jewellery. A woman parts with it only after her husband's demise.
It is customary that after the marriage ceremony the husband gifts the wife a mangalsutra. Amongst many Hindu communities a marriage ceremony is not complete until the husband makes the wife wear a mangalsutra around the neck.
The use of black beads and figures like those of a peacock or a pendant are considered important components of a mangalsutra. There is a belief that a mangalsutra worn by a wife protects the husband from inauspicious and unfortunate happenings. A peacock is a symbol of a woman's love for her husband. Black beads ward off evil. They also help conserve one's energy. A mangalsutra may be made in gold or silver. Both are in popular use. It is believed that one made in gold is superior, since gold helps increase energy levels in the body and is a symbol of prosperity.