Kumkum is a sacred red powder applied to the forehead during religious ceremonies and everyday life. It is made from turmeric (Curcuma longa), a plant native to India and Southeast Asia. In Hindi, it is known as lal kumkum or sindoor.
In Hinduism, kumkum is applied in the center of the forehead during religious ceremonies as part of the sindoor ceremony, which many married women undergo on their wedding day. Kumkum is also applied to foreheads of newborn babies during the ceremony celebrating their birth called chudakarana.
Many people in India wear kumkum as part of their daily attire, especially on Friday evenings or Saturdays (Shiv Ratri). This symbolizes purity and devotion to God Shiva.
Kumkum is also used by some Hindus as a symbol of love towards one’s husband or wife. Some women apply it regularly after taking a bath or brushing their teeth before going to bed at night so that they can meet him early in his dreams and talk about their problems together.
Last modified: November 15, 2022