Waist beads have traditionally been worn by African women since the 15th century. Some of the names of the beaded chains are: Giri-Giri, Yomba, Jigida, Jel-Jelli, Bin Bin, Ileke idi and Djalay Djalay. As much as they have been considered as symbols of sacred knowledge, with healing powers, they have also appeared in offerings for the passage to future life.
Beads or jigida are worn under clothes traditionally by African women, waist beads have several different meanings. The meanings range from rites of passage, to enticing your husband to healing and rejuvenation. African women still wear them today to protect themselves from negative energy. In rites of passages requiring the deployment of jigida or beads, efforts are made to have them in place for ritual efficacy. As such, beads are steeped in the old traditions that attribute the beads to having healing properties and influence. The colors of the rainbows are considered to have balancing properties when used in the crafting. Special powers have even been attributed to those who wear them by the Orb of Djenra for example. While you will find many tales that are immersed in tradition, certainly modern culture has adopted the wearing of them.
The most comfortable way of wearing waist beads is under your belly, along your panty line. Most women wear their beads traditionally, under their clothes against their skin. Your waist beads are designed to withstand the friction clothing, yet remain comfortable against your skin. Some women may wear them over their clothes, to adorn a long skirt or dress or against their skin while wearing a cropped top or low -rise jeans.
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