Kumkuma

When a girl or a married woman visits a house, it is a sign of respect (in case of an elderly lady) or blessings (in case of a young girl) to offer kumkuma to them when they leave. However, it is not offered to widows. When visiting a temple, married women from southern India usually dip their ring finger in yellow turmeric powder, and apply a dot on their neck. Men, women, girls, and boys apply a dot on their forehead of red turmeric powder, also when visiting a temple or during a pooja. Kumkuma in temples is found in heaps. People dip their thumb into the heap and apply it on the forehead or between the eyebrows. In most of India, married women apply red kumkuma to the parting of their hair above their forehead every day as a symbol of marriage. This is called vermilion, or in Hindi, sindoor. In southern India, many unmarried girls will wear a bindi every day unlike northern India where it is only worn as a symbol of marriage.

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