Dare to Ask: What's the red dot on foreheads?
By Phillip Milano
The Florida Times-Union
Why do Indian women wear a red dot on their foreheads?
Aprile, 23, Holiday
In North India, women wear a bindi after they are married. In other parts,
the bindi is put on the forehead after praying to God. It is considered as a
sign of his blessings.
K., 25, Asian female, San Francisco
It's a kind of fashion now. Shania Twain has put a dot on her forehead in her
song "From This Moment On." It also makes us different from the rest of the
world because no other country uses it.
Roshni, Virginia Beach, Va.
My Indian friend says it's traditional, decorative, Indian jewelry.
Andy, 17, Asian, Jacksonville
You can get all types of pretty ones at Indian markets.
Sarita, Indian, Apex, N.C.
It's in their religion. It's like asking whites why do nuns wear that outfit.
Jasmeen, 18, Muslim, Chicago
Hindi women wear it as a chakra symbol representing the third eye, the eye
that sees into oneself.
Sezu, Williams, Tenn.
It was once used more for ritual and caste-related significances but now is
more for fashion purposes.
Julie, 18, Canada
We're just all over the place on this, aren't we? How to connect the dots?
Samar Sardana runs visionsofindia.com and sells bindis - a word that comes
from the Sanskrit "bindu," for dot or drop.
The bindi is purely a forehead decoration and is often stick-on felt or
jewelry, he said. It shouldn't be confused with a tilak, a traditional Hindu
mark created with powder or paste that symbolizes marriage or has religious
A lot of Hindu men and women don't even wear the tilak anymore, but more
women - Hindu or not - are getting their bindi on. His site sells them for
anywhere from 35 cents for a nine-pack of basic bindis to up to $5.69 for a one-
to 15-pack of ornate ones. Younger people, a lot of them into belly-dancing, get
"It's a fashion statement, for decoration, and not just for Indian women," he
said. "Gwen Stefani and Madonna wear them."
What about all the mystical stuff - the third eye, Hindu gods, enlightenment
and all that?
"They say the tilak is for the third eye and has to do with the sixth chakra
in the forehead, the seat of concealed wisdom, balance and power," Sardana said.
"I don't believe all that. And most who wear a bindi wouldn't even know about
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