Waist Beads Meaning
Waist beads are similar to necklaces or bracelets that are worn around the waist. They are traditional African add-on for women to feel more womanly and gorgeous.
These attractive gemstone waist beads come with different colors and shapes and are normally handmade and personalized.
In some cultures, waist beads are a symbol and celebration of womanhood, first menses, body shaping, sexuality, femininity, fertility, healing, sexuality, spirituality, protection, seduction, and wealth amongst other things.
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These beads can be made loose enough to hang low on the hips or wrap cozily around the waist.
History of Waist Beads
Even though waist beads are not limited to any race, culture, or country, it is still very necessary to understand the impact of waist beads within the African cultures.
Historians think the African tradition of waist beads may have originated among the Yoruba tribes, in Nigeria.
The Yoruba’s in West Africa, Nigeria are known to have the most varied and peculiar reasons for using waist beads. Yoruba waist beads are also called Ileke idi, Bebedi, Jigida, and Lagidigba.
They are worn mainly by females, from the petite to the oldest.
On the other hand, the practice is also seen in other West African countries, especially in Ghana and Senegal where the beads signify wealth and aristocracy, as well as femininity.
Also, the Zulu women from the Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa are famous for their waist beads! Waist beads are worn throughout Africa and in ancient black Egypt!
In more recent years, in both Africa and the United States, waist beads have increased fame among women. They’re also known as belly beads, waistline beads, or beaded waist chains.
Waist beads are also found in other cultures, and while some women classically keep theirs under wraps, some display their beads over their attires or on bare midriffs, such as belly dancers in Eastern cultures.
African Waist Beads: Color Meaning
Each bead, color, and shape sends a different message depending on the receiver.
Below are some bead color meanings:
- Black – Power and protection
- Green – Abundance, fertility, nature, and prosperity
- Orange – Courage, self-confidence, and vitality
- Pink – Care, beauty, love, and kindness
- Blue – Loyalty and truth
- Brown – Earth and stability
- Turquoise – Communication and self-awareness
- White – Light, truth and purity
- Yellow – Energy, joy, and happiness.
- Gold – Good health, power and wealth
- Purple – Royalty, spirituality, and wisdom
- Red – Confidence, and vitality
Importance of African Waist Beads
The reasons why waist beads remain a common accessory for women around the globe are varied and special.
- Rites of Passage
- Intimacy and fertility
- Heritage and pride
- Weight awareness
How to Choose the Right Waist Beads for Your Body?
The good thing about waist beads is how distinct they are. You can wear as many strands of beads for whatever reason you want. They are a powerful means of individualism.
Waist Beads DIY- How To Make African Waist Beads
Making jewelery for your waist is inexpensive and simple.
Follow the steps below and in no time you can have a set of waist beads.
- Firstly, wrap the full strand around your waist
- Secondly, modify the strand to sit along your panty line or wherever you want the strand to hang. Put thumbs there.
- Thirdly, pull the excess beads off the strand. You can save or discard them.
- After that, twist the strings and tie 3-4 tight knots.
- Then, cut the excess string with scissors.
- Lastly, turn strand so the knot is at your back. That’s it!
You can wear your waist beads all day. They may appear dull after sometime time due to showering; if that happens just polish them with a clean cloth.
If you have the intention of taking them off at times, tie them loosely from the beginning and then just pull them up and off like a blouse.
Where to Buy African Waist Beads
If possible, try to make your waist beads by yourself; they are so simple and inexpensive.
Otherwise, get a waist bead artist to measure them to your body and make sure the beads fit exactly how you want them to fit.
If there’s an African market near you, there always a waist bead artist where they sell beads.
If you can’t find where beads are sold or waist bead artists in your area, there are other options available.
You can order online from shops like:
Some, like The Bee Stop or Bruja de La Cocina, sell through Etsy.
Please note that if you can’t find already made waist beads of your size, many artists are happy to make a custom order.
Waist beads simply mean beauty and history combined. It embraces all sizes, defying media images of what’s beautiful.
There is so much beauty and history behind waist beads. They are for the confident, spirited woman, whatever size she is.
Each string of beads holds traditions, values, and customs.