No, they’re not a cover band. In fact, I don’t even think “Karachi bangles” is an actual thing. They’re most likely just bangles, common here just as much as in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. But, since I’m getting them in Karachi …
Sort of like a South Asian Pandora, these rigid bracelets made from either wood, glass, plastic, or metal (the ones in the video are made of metal) are built up using large numbers of single bangles. When all these component parts are still in their boxes, they really don’t look all that special. But when you’re done assembling them like this, these bangles look pretty fly.
I know the video makes it look easy, but considering the wide variety of single bangles available, there’s a great deal of customisation that can be done. For the most part, those who wear bangles like symmetry – matching sets for each arm are the thing here. But there’s nothing stopping anyone from mixing and matching these singles to form interesting combinations unique to the wearer.
Bangles are a big part of the culture in this region. In some places, for instance, it is considered unlucky for a woman to go bare-armed. Men wear bangles too, but typically just singles. Bangles are also considered auspicious gifts for babies, with various materials being of varied significance. But the most interesting cultural aspect of these bangles that I learned, has to do with the ones made of glass.
A new bride will wear new glass bangles at her wedding as part of her finery. But far from being just decorative, the bangles are a sort of countdown clock. According to tradition, the honeymoon is considered to have ended when the last glass bangle breaks. This tradition may be why glass bangles worn during the wedding are typically packed away with utmost care – y’know, so the honeymoon never ends?
Ah, we should all be so lucky. Anyway, there.
Aren’t you glad you learned something new today?