What Does Wearing Anklets Mean in African Culture?
Since the dawn of time, anklets have existed. Throughout the history of Africa, mothers and young girls have worn ankle bracelets for generations. Anklets made of beads in Africa have cultural importance. Ankle bracelets made of string beads are worn by women and girls to express their passion for their culture and to display their identity as African royalty. In certain respects, these bracelets draw attention from the other sex and also denote social class.
Ladies of all socioeconomic strata wore them as feminine decorations in ancient Egypt. Jewelers of the day made their anklets out of various metals and came in a variety of forms; the affluent tended to use more expensive metals like gold, while the lower classes tended to use less expensive metals like silver. In general, men did not wear anklets in African culture.
There is a lot of significance to anklets in Africa, normally depending on the region, you look at. Some of the most common reasons for wearing anklets in Africa included:
To Show Socioeconomic Status
In African culture, it was important for women and girls to show their socioeconomic status. This served an important purpose; to let other people know how to treat the individual and for dating purposes as well. For instance, early Egyptians wore anklets made of gold if they were in the royal family or from extraordinarily rich backgrounds. This meant that they had to be respected when out in the community. It was also an indicator of how proper it was for one to approach a female for dating. If someone saw a young girl wearing a gold anklet, only a male from the same privileged background or one who was also royalty would approach the female. For married women, wearing a gold anklet served to signal other people to show their respect. In a sense, wearing an anklet to show socioeconomic status was a way of communication.
To Show One’s Marital Status
In some regions of Africa, anklets were used to show whether one was single or married and acted as a signal for an interested male to start the process of courtship. Typically, an anklet was made out of a specific metal to show that one was married, and out of another material to show that they were single. In some cases, trinkets were added to the anklets to communicate this. For instance, once a girl got married, she could add some trinkets to her anklets, and this showed that she was no longer single.
For Beauty PurposesBy far, the number one reason for wearing anklets in Africa was to display one’s beauty. For the Egyptians, for instance, golden anklets were the most beautiful since they were made out of gold. For this reason, the ladies who wore golden anklets were perceived to be more beautiful. In other cultures, anklets were made out of beads, and trinkets were accessories used to make them stand out. This way, the wearer had a unique look. For unmarried girls of marriageable age, anklets enhanced their beauty and thus attract more potential mates.