Why Do Women Wear a Toe Ring?

Why Do Women Wear a Toe Ring?
Jun 2022

In India, it is quite easy to spot a married woman. This is particularly so if the woman is a Hindu. Hindu women, for instance, put red sindoor along the hair parting (maang) to signify that they are married. This is the most visible symbol of marital status. Many women also wear toe rings after marriage. But these are not as obvious as the sindoor on their maang. In Hindi, toe rings are called bichhiya. They are usually made of silver and are worn in pairs on the second toe of both feet.
The woman wears the toe rings as part of the marriage ceremony. It is the husband who puts the rings on the woman's toes during the ceremony. The toe rings symbolize the respect, happiness, and prosperity that marriage brings to her life. It also represents her new responsibilities and duties as a wife.

When Prana (energy) or life force in a human body is balanced, the person enjoys good health. This Prana runs right down to our toes. Wearing toe rings helps to balance the energy flow in the body. It also keeps the Prana active. Thus, wearing toe rings can help to keep us in good health too.
There are many stories in the Scriptures that speak of the importance of wearing toe rings. In the Ramayana, when Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, abducted Rama's wife, Sita, she cast aside her toe rings. She did it so that Rama would identify them as hers and come to her rescue.
Toe rings have even become fashion accessories for many women nowadays. Unmarried girls, too, have taken to wearing them. They wear it on the third toe of their feet. Some married ladies do not wear silver toe rings. But silver has an essential function. It has the power to remove negative energies in our lives. So it is important to wear toe rings made of silver rather than any other metal. Married women wear the toe rings for their entire lifetime.
Significance of wearing Toe Rings
According to some beliefs, wearing toe rings gives relief from menstrual pain. The nerves on the second toe of the foot have a connection with a woman's uterus. This notion is prevalent in the Indian traditional medicine system of Ayurveda. When a woman wears toe rings, there is a slight pressure on the toes. This supposedly helps in regulating her menstrual cycle and contributes to the health of her uterus. Unmarried women may also get relief from menstrual pain if they wear toe rings. Thus, toe rings have a beneficial effect on the female reproductive system.
Another belief is that silver toe rings can generate sexual feelings in married women. Sex is an important part of married life. If the woman lacks sexual drive or desire, it can affect her marital life negatively. So this is perhaps another reason why married women wear silver toe rings.
The Mystical Qualities of Silver
Silver is also believed to have many mystical and miraculous properties. It can remove and redistribute negative energy. So it is used to clean a person's aura. It is a good water purifier and antiseptic.
Since ancient times, every religion has asserted that silver is God's metal. Hence, it can repel evil spirits. In Christianity, only a silver bullet can kill a werewolf. A silver-clad collar can help tame a werewolf. If a silver object is placed in the hand of a werewolf, it will burn them, and it is easy to identify them.
Muslims believe that a faithful Muslim should avoid gold jewelry as it can confuse the mind and attract the devil. Prophet Muhammad supposedly wore only silver rings.
In some regions of India, toe rings have a dual meaning. It signifies the woman's role as a sister as well as a wife. It is also why women wear toe rings on both feet, indicating that she enjoys the protection of both her brother and husband. When either one of them dies, she removes a toe ring.
Thus, in Hindu marriage, traditional toe rings had many meanings and were worn by women for many reasons.