Nearly all the women on earth wear ear studs/rings….. Most often till they reach the grave. With a long history of wearing these in Indian culture, it also represents marital status of women & considered holy. Although considered as one of the beauty aiding accessories by fashion gurus, back home everyone insists that there is more to it & this normally smooth part is like microcosm of the entire body!! Traditionally or let us say up until recently everyone particularly in India wore gold. The main reason being gold is rust proof… & there are negligible percentage who is allergic to gold. Many men in India pierced too & now a days it is trendy with young men.
When a girl child is born it is taken for granted that her ear lobes will be pierced when she is young. When my granddaughter was born, my daughter asked me when to pierce her ears? I wanted to take it easy till she grows little big for the simple reason that my younger daughter’s ear lobe was almost torn fully when she was two years old. We were travelling from Hong Kong to Vancouver & almost all the time she cried with pain & we did not know why she was crying as there was no bleeding & I ended up crying with her without knowing what to do!! I know the same rule does not apply to everyone & my own mother would not agree with me. So I wanted to find out more about the formalities of ear piercing along with the right timing.
In Hindu tradition ear lobe piercing known as Karn-vedh Sanskar is considered an important ceremony. It should be done in the center of the lobe as it is believed that there is a connection at this point with our optic & brain nerves & the practice thought to have therapeutic values to eyes & mind. Piercing is never done on Navami (9th lunar day) or Amavase (new moon) & ideally it is done on dasami (10th lunar day) & poornami (full moon) depending of child’s birth star. An auspicious day & time is chosen, piercing is done under sunlight after special pujas/prayers are offered. It is said that according to Dharma Sindhu, it must be performed on the 10th, 12th or 16th day after the birth. However, mostly no one adhere to it strictly & done before 5 months & but not later than 11 months, usually sixth or seventh month because in case the baby gets infection then it is easy to handle them. And by the time they are big they will get used the idea of something in the ear lobe & don’t bother pulling it. In case it is not done with the first year then it is done during the odd years, either third or fifth or seventh year considered ideal. After piercing the child is taken to temple for blessing & prokshana (sprinkling holy water) to ward off any fear from the pain. After wards sweets prepared at home to celebrate the piercing. Some communities do it on the 28th day which is also the christening day of the baby.
Piercing was almost always done by goldsmith with a gold needle/fine rod but now the trend is changed & people go to doctor/pharmacist. For a girl child the first ear pierced is the left & for boy the right. For a male child it’s usually done either because of cultural practices or for the health reason. After few years the boys will stop wearing it (now you know why Indian girls are smarter than boys… hahahahaa). It is also believed that puncturing the earlobe was beneficial to increasing the acuity of eyesight & of hearing. Also if the piercing is done in the proper place & pierced precisely in the tender age, & a hanging is worn, ailments related to the throat, eyes & tongue can also be reduced. So now you know why Indians will go to the goldsmith & get the babies ear’s pierced & a little hanging either with a karimani (black bead) or coral is hanging. Also the karimani is supposed to ward off the evil eye!!
It is said that the little dangles in the ear lobe helps the development of the brain & calms the child… improves the mathematical skills. It is believed that ear piercing helps reducing ailments related to the throat, eyes & tongue, in maintaining the regularity in the menstrual cycle of a girl, getting rid of hysteria, etc. The earrings are believed to help in maintain the flow of electric current in a human body. Piercing the point just an inch above the earring said to be beneficial for acute back pain reduction. Also piercings on the ear lobes as well as the left side of the nose supposed to give us spiritual benefit. I am not sure of any benefits & in this age of logic seekers what the tradition says may not be agreeable but Yoga has taken over the world by storm. Maharishi Patanjali, complied the yoga sutras thousands of years ago by observing the nature & the life around him. That’s why each posture has animal/reptile names to go with it. So I guess there must be some reason for the whole saga of ear piercing besides looking pretty & easy identification of the sex of the baby if not dressed in blue or pink!!
However the Auricular acupuncture developed based on Dr. Nogier’s theory supports the Indian theory in a different way. It is said that the ear looks like an inverted foetus & the whole body can be treated by applying pressure to acupuncture points in the ear, the point of vision in acupuncture is situated in the center of the lobe. Acupuncture points in the ear said to be able to reduce pain throughout the body by a reticular formulation through the parasympathetic nervous system. Chinese acupuncture has long been used as the treatment for various conditions & diseases such as addiction, psychological disorders such as depression, pain control, obesity & a wide range of other chronic conditions. The ear lobe said to represents the brain of a baby & the meridians connecting the brain pass through this area. So piercing this area is said to help in the quick development of the brain!!
There is a community back home for whom it is customary (definitely not fashion) to pierce not just the lobe but all around the ear. Next holiday I will try to get a picture & also will find out if they have less female aliments compared to general public. There is also another community in India where the earlobe holes are encouraged to stretch & widen, & they wear rolled, coloured read, which keeps trying to expand… by the time they are old, the hole is big enough to pass a finger (or two)!! I am not kidding I have seen it couple of times & long back out of curiosity I asked an old lady does not it hurt & why she wants it so big when she is not even wearing studs or hangings? She said it does not hurt & it is done for health reason. Since my Tamil is restricted to bare minimum I could not converse with her much. I have not seen one in a long time. Hopefully next time I have to take my husband to talk to both category people as one speaks in Malayalam & the other in Tamil.