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Nose and Ear Piercing

The nose piercing dates back to emperor Akbar distinguishing a Hindu woman, the ear piercing is a religious custom.


Ear Piercing

In South India, Hindu infants of both genders get their ears pierced as early as 12 days after birth or before their first birth day. The shape of the ear resembles the holy symbol 'Aum'. It is believed that piercing the ear is just dotting the Aum. The ear is pierced by a priest during a holy ceremony (Karnavedha).


Nose piercing

Nose piercing is a cult-like tradition in India. Nose piercing was introduced in India by Moghul Emperors during the 16 century. The left nostril of Hindu girls as young as five years old is pierced. On the wedding night, the bride wears a Nath (Nose ring). The Nath is hooked by a chain to either the earring or hair. The bridegroom removes the Nath, symbolizing end of bride's virginity. A widow does not wear any jewel in the pierced nose. It is claimed that nose piercing decreases pain of menstruation and eases the child birth.

Woman follow this tradition with the fervor of a cult even if they don't have their nostril pierced, or they may not be virgin. They would wear a clip-on Nath connected by a chain to a clip-on earring, just to be removed by the groom on the wedding night.


How the piercing is done?

I can only say how it was done in 1940s when I was a young boy. A match stick was lit under a sewing needle to sterilize the needle. A potato was cut and used to support the area to be pierced. The needle was pushed through the flesh to the potato. After the needle was pushed, a holy thread (red and yellow) was passed through the eye of the needle. The needle was then removed leaving the thread in the just pierced hole. It was done very quickly causing only a short sharp pain. Sometimes, ice was used to number the area to be pierced.


Nowadays, a hollow stainless steel surgical needle is used for piercing. After the piercing, the needle is removed and a Captive Bearing Ring (CBR) is inserted. The CBR is a 16 to 12 gauge ring made of 18 to 24 carat gold.


Healing time for earlobe piercing: 3 to 6 weeks

Healing time for Nose piercing: 6 to 12 weeks


In United stated, piercing may be done only by the persons certified to perform body piercing.



The pierced area are susceptible to infection. During first week, cleanse the piercing two times a day. Let the water run over the pierced area to dissolve dry crust. Rotate the jewelry. You want to make sure that jewelry is not stuck to the skin. Don't force the rotation, it may cause a tear. Wash with medicated soap or saline water. Rinse with clear water and pat dry.

Do not use oil or ointments.


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