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Origin and Meaning to Waist beads

Updated: Nov 28, 2021



While there‘s so much history behind waist bead, it’s generally agreed that the existence of waist beads dates far back to antiquity, as far back as the 15th Century.


In fact, many ancient scholars and historian say that the history of beading began in Ancient kush also known Nubia or today Egypt. ( North Africa ) Where they were known to be the most beautiful women of all time; donned by natural beauty as a royal status symbol. The waist beads were simply called ‘Girdles’ at the time.


In West Africa, many historians believe the tradition of waist beads was popularized by the Yoruba tribe, notably in Senegal and Ghana (notably the Ewes, Ashantis, Kronos, Ga-Adangbes) where they speak of nobility, femininity, and affluence. Today countries like Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone have also adopted the waist beads including America today.


Waist beads are a traditional African accessory that consist of small glass beads on a string or wire worn around the waist or hips, In Parts of Africa like Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, East and West Northern Africa. Waist beads are A Symbol of Femininity, Fertility, Sensuality, and Spiritual well-being and also worn as a protection.


African Waist beads were more commonplace a couple of generations earlier, certainly a lot more so than they are right now.


There was, in fact, a fascination with waist beads that existed, especially for some younger women who longed to reach the age where they can have some of there own. Even tho it’s Hidden from eyes view underneath the modest female clothing. It was favored in those times, the beads peeked out at random interval, surprising and enticing an onlooker.


Although some people remained unaware of their significance, the allure of a beaded women was practically undeniable.


There are many varied reasons we have came across as to waist beads are worn. The common reason is the definition of a female waist, which is that it helps to maintain their figures.


Most Traditional culture have more of a practice usage.

  • One where the many strings of beads around the bikini line were placed as an anchor to strap the menstrual cloth. Which is a red cloth to show signs of a woman menstruating.


  • As a symbol of femininity and sensuality, Only the other partner a women chooses would have the honor of seeing all of them fully. Some are visible and some are hidden in the females under garment.


  • As a sign that a women had reached marriageable age and could now have a suitor.


  • To show that a woman was still pure at the time of marriage. Which is determined by the color worn.


  • Worn as a weight measure; When gaining weight, the belt of beads stacked up on the belly and when you lose weight, it falls elegantly to the hips.


  • As an addition of adding precious stones, waist beads is also as a healing or rejuvenation qualities; depending on ailments or what is needed to be enhanced during the time in life ( Spirituality, Physic abilities, Physic powers, Love, Balance etc ) Various semi-precious stones can be included in the designs of your waist beads.


  • These days only a few people maintain the cultural adoration of the beads meanings and wear them on a daily basis, but a vast majority are likely to put them on during special occasions or just fashion trend. Most of the significant of the traditional usage is only being used with people that still follow the traditions.

  • The women in this day in age wear them for ornamental and beautification reasons, or simply to check their weights, so it may not be wise no reading too much into why a women choose the decision to wear them.


  • All we know is that waist beads is a new fashion trend and when worn properly are very beautiful sight to see.


Waist bead color Meaning & Significance


Generally color play a very important role in our live. While some people are easily drawn to the bright colors and some just don’t like bright colors they just don’t go together if it’s not easy on the eyes and can literally get on people’s nerve.


Though the meaning of the color of a waist beads varies from culture to culture and tribes to tribes, it’s significance is considered very important and powerful in many cultures and African communities. Choosing the right colors of beads remains as important as the design, weight, length and flexibility.


Meaning to some waist beads colors


  • Brown- Earth and Stability

  • Gold- Good health, Power and Wealth

  • Green- Abundance, Fertility, Nature Balance and Prosperity

  • Red - Confidence and Vitality

  • Turquoise- Communication and Self-awareness

  • White- Light, Truth and purity

  • Yellow- Good energy, joy, happiness and Wealth

  • Black- Power and protection

  • Blue- Loyalty and truth

  • Orange- Courage, self-confidence, and vitality

  • Pink- Caring, beauty, love, kindness, and attraction

  • Purple- Royalty, Spirituality, and wisdom

The waist beads carry different names to different tribes. In Africa the Nigerians and the north part of the country calls it Jigida.

While in Yoruba ( The people of the southwest Nigeria call it Bebedi. And in Igbo its called Mgbaji.


Do to the high demand of the waist beads because of cultural fashion in America, many people appreciate the beauty of wearing them today. If you are interested in purchasing or if you would like to order a custom made Waist beads feel free to contact Asethehealingboutique. Let them know I sent you for a free gift with Purchase. Just say Uma!





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