Published: 20 Feb 2018

A golden affair

Role of gold in Hindu rituals and practices

In both the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible, you will find numerous references to the refining of gold and silver; many spiritual leaders see it as an analogue of God’s refining people through painful trials. The story in Hindu mythology is no different. Gold is perceived as the seed of Agni (the God of Fire).

As most Hindus also know, fire is an essential ingredient in ritual. So are adornments, created and worn for specific rituals and events. This association with tradition and auspiciousness had made gold an imperative part of Indian weddings. In some weddings, the presence of gold also represents the presence of Gods at the ceremony.

Weddings are probably the single most important occasion wherein gold buying tops the charts in India. Be it jewellery for the bride and the groom, ornaments for the close relatives and family, embossed coins as gifts for the elders of the family or memorabilia in forms of idols of gods and goddesses and other items.

Gifting or buying gold sees a significant rise at the time of weddings, giving the either side of the families an excuse to heavily invest in and buy gold. Moreover, if the bride – the Griha Lakshmi, brings gold into her new home, parents-in-law consider it a good omen. When it comes to weddings, Kasavu sarees, a well-known bridal attire with intricate golden embroideries also sees a heavy rise in its purchase, especially in South India.

Since gold is also an auspicious color, elements of gold are always incorporated in bridal outfits too. Creativity abounds in wedding outfits too; we can often see that the bridal outfits, especially lehengas or sarees have exquisite patterns made up of exclusive golden threads on which these designs are embellished.

It doesn't matter how much wealth you have – it is a norm for a person to own a certain amount of gold at least, according to their economic status. Since weddings are a way for people to show off their prosperity, wealth, and material goods, the amount of gold one wears is an essential part of weddings in India.

Gold in India is like the colour black in the West: appropriate for every occasion.