Sometimes a fashion accessory, sometimes a cultural or religious rite, the earring has transcended the centuries to establish itself as an essential fashion accessory. The reasons may vary from one continent to another, from one ethnic group to another. Let’s decipher together some of the meanings of wearing this jewel.
A Rite of Passage
In some societies, ear piercing is a rite of passage and marks a milestone in life.
- In Borneo, the child will wear the earring as long as he depends on his parents. The mother and father each pierce one of their child’s ears as a sign of the child’s dependence on his parents.
- In India, karnavedha is the practice of ear piercing and is an important religious ceremony performed on a child, boy or girl. This ceremony usually takes place between 3 and 5 years of age. The common belief is that by piercing the ears of the child, it will help the opening of the inner ear in order to capture the sacred sounds.
- In Mali, among the Dogon people, the circumcised adolescent has his ear pierced during the coming of age to the adult. This represents mastery of speech, and the ring, in its role of amulet, serves to protect its wearer from the evil words of women. On the women’s side, seven perforations are made in the earlobe before marriage to symbolize the loss of virginity. The future bride now has access to women’s voices
- Within the Mongolian community, wearing earrings is closely linked with puberty. Indeed, if the young girl sees her ears pierced relatively young – generally at two or three years – the wearing of earrings does not appear until puberty. They are decorated only with small pieces of wood that prevent the hole from closing.
Many major events in life are marked with a jewel. A ring for a wedding. A chain or curb chain for a baptism. And earrings are no exception… So, indeed, they are not just a simple fashion accessory for some of us.
Continue reading with the final chapter of the series: