The cultural history of waist beads

The cultural history of waist beads

Over the years, wearing beads at the waist has slowly become the "in" thing in fashion.

Though it has always been an element of culture in African customs, today more and more people have fallen in love with the idea of wearing them or having someone wear them.

Waist beads are jewelry made of cowries, precious shells, beads, pearls, or small metals threaded on a wire or fishing line (not the one used for fishing). These waist beads come in different lengths, waist sizes, colors, and shapes and can be worn in single or multiple strands as they sit nicely on the wearer's waist.

As mentioned earlier, waist beads have long been a part of African culture, especially West African culture. In Nigeria, waist beads were once worn as a sign of spirituality, femininity, sensuality, growth, and fertility. In Ghana, it is a symbol of a young girl's rite of passage and coming of age, which is usually evidence of her sexual maturity. It also helps to accentuate the waist and give it a slimmer frame.

When a baby is born, he is traditionally embellished with waist beads, and once the baby is about a year old, he stops wearing them if he is a boy, while the girl continues to wear them. The young girl wears the beads on her waist until she reaches puberty; she automatically grows out of them and gets new ones when she becomes a woman.

In some other cultures, the beads are worn at the waist for protection from the "evil eye."

One thing that all wearers around the world have in common is the fact that waist beads serve as a kind of body shaper. They are an excellent tool for monitoring weight gain and loss. A little weight loss or gain can be easily detected; when the wearer gains weight, the beads roll up slightly and eventually break, and when the wearer loses weight, the beads roll down and become so loose that they eventually fall off. So if you want to lose or gain weight, getting waist beads would be an excellent reference point to track your progress a bit.

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