Waist beads are a common accessory amongst African women. It became popular in the ’50s by the Yoruba tribe.
African women wear waist beads not only as an accessory but to serve various purposes. Purposes that can be linked back to the ancestral heritage of Africa.
What does a waist bead look like?
Waist beads are traditional and are made of little glass beads, decorative stones and sometimes charms on a string, usually worn around the waist or hips.
It can also be referred to as belly beads, beaded waist charms or waistline beads.
In Nigeria, Ghana and other West African countries, waist beads symbolizes feminity, sensuality, fertility and healthy spirituality. But in the world today, all around and beyond Africa waist beads are beginning to serve aesthetic and practical purposes.
Reasons people wear waist beads.
1. WEIGHT AWARENESS: Waist beads don’t stretch and they tend to feel comfortably tight around the abdomen/ belly area. Rather than step on a scale, alot of women prefer wearing waist beads.
To know if you gained some weight? The beads will stay in place on your waist and feel snugly tight. Also, when you lose weight, the beads feel lose and fall lower to your hips.
2. MATURITY: In parts of West Africa where waist beads are a culture and tradition, it symbolizes womanhood and female growth.
Females are born and adorned with waist beads during their naming ceremonies. Springing into puberty, the beads are changed to symbolize growth, and keep changing to symbolize fertility, marriage and motherhood.
3. INTIMACY: Waist beads can also be used to enhance female sensuality. It may also be closely associated with fertility.
In the Ashante culture in Ghana, bells or larger beads are added to a woman’s waist beads, the noise it makes alerts potential suitors that she is fertile.
Most women now prefer to wear waist beads under the their clothing. For only her and her chosen partners to see.
Do the colors and stones of a waist bead have meanings?
Waist beads come in many styles, colors and stones shape. Personally, you may decide to choose one with a significance and rich with symbolism.
- White: Truth, Purity.
- Red: Passion, Confidence, Bravery.
- Brown: Earth, Stability.
- Blue: Healing, Harmony.
- Purple: Spirituality, Royalty, Wisdom.
- Yellow: Energy, Joy, Awareness.
- Green: Prosperity, Fertility, Hope.
- Rose quartz: Love, Healing, Compassion.
- Hamsa: Protection against evil or bad luck.
- Evil eye: Protection against negativity.
- Quartz: Clarity, amplifies other crystals.
- Lapis lazuli: Peace, Truth, Wisdom.
- Green aventurine: Luck, Prosperity, Wealth.
Waist beads has a huge effect on the wearer. It serves as a constant reminder to be more aware and loving towards one’s body.