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Noa Bangle Bengal – Single Iron Bangle Worn By Married Woman

Noa is a symbol of marital status in eastern parts of India, especially in Bengal. A noa is a single iron bangle, put on the left wrist of a bride, to ward off evil and to gain a long life for the husband. Symbolically Noa signifies a strong, steadfast and indestructible marriage like the metal iron.

This custom is generally found among Hindus in Bengal, Assam, Nepal, Bihar and Odisha. Women put on Shankha, noa, and ruli, all bangles of different kinds, for their lifelong marital happiness, for the long life of their husbands and as a show of their marital status as opposed to widowhood.

The white of sankha, red of ruli and the dark iron (and the gold and silver décor on the iron band) make a colorful addition to the typically Bengali attire of a red sari with a red broad red border.

This iron bangle may or may not be decorated with gold and silver. Only the mother-in-law has the right to put it on the wrist of the bride as she puts her first step in her in-law’s house. In some parts of Bengal, the iron bangle or noa is put on by the husband on the bride’s left hand.

A woman can take it off her hand only when her husband dies. A woman is supposed to feel very proud if she dies earlier than her husband, as she can wear her noa to her funeral pyre.