1) Marital status signs of Hindu women:
According to Hindu culture, there are five signs of marital status of women. They are mangalsutra, Toe rings (Metti), Kumkum, bangles and a nose ring. Mangalsutra is the most important among them.
2) Mangalsutra - Sacred Symbol of Marriage:
The word mangalsutra means an auspicious thread or cord. It is also called தாலி-thaali (Kannada: ತಾಳಿ) or thaaly or maangalyam (Kannada: ಮಾಂಗಲ್ಯ) in Kannada, Telugu and Tamil in Southern India.
It is probably passed from South India to North India.
A mangalsutra (also mangala sutra or mangalasutra) is a symbol of Hindu marriage, consisting of a gold ornament strung from a yellow thread, a string of black beads or a gold chain. It is comparable to a western wedding ring. A Hindu marriage symbolizes not just a bonding of two individuals but also the bonding of understanding, commitment, mutual love and spiritual growth.
In the Hindu tradition a marriage demands sacrifice, companionship, dedication, and surrender by both the partners. Each and every ritual and custom associated with marriage portrays the real essence of wedding. The mangalsutra is one such symbol of marriage. It is not just a piece of jewelry but has lots of significance to a married Indian woman. It is a sacred thread of love and goodwill worn by married women as a symbol of their marriage.
The groom ties it around the neck of the bride on the day of their marriage signifying their union. It is known by different names in different states of the country. In south it is known as Thaali and Mangalsutra in north India. Mangalsutra is the token of dignity and love given to a bride by her groom.
3) Toe rings (bichiya):
Wearing of toe rings is practiced in India. It is worn as a symbol of married state by Hindu women and is called bichiya (pronounced: bee-chee-ya) in Hindi (Metti in Tamil - மெட்டி). They are usually made of silver and worn in pairs (unlike the trend in Western countries, where they are worn singly or in unmatched pairs) on the second toe of both feet.
Traditionally they are quite ornate, though more contemporary designs are now being developed to cater to the modern bride. Bichiyas may not be made of gold, as gold holds a respected status and may not be worn below the waist by Hindus.
The kumkum is an auspicious symbol. Married women apply red kumkum in front of their parting on their forehead as a symbol of marriage. This is called vermilion, or in Hindi, sindoor. When a girl or a married woman visits a house, it is a sign of respect (in case of an elderly lady) or blessings (in case of a young girl) to offer kumkum to them when they leave.