Why Get Waisted With Waist Beads
Three years ago during my first trip to Ghana and the beginning stages of Covid-19 awareness in the United States and on the African continent, I found myself going from working vacation mode to survival mode. I had to come up with some creative ways very fast to support myself during an uncertain time of international border shut downs. One of the ideas was selling waist beads as a means to support myself until I could return home. But could I do this as a man in this naturally feminine and sacred space?
The answer was and is still, YES!
The ideas continued to flow and so did the looming international border shutdowns. Fortunately, I was able to make the last flight out of Ghana the night the border officially closed, thanks to my awesome wife, Nonzwakazi.
Once home, I started to focus on how to really be in the business of waist beads. I had my knowledge, which is always good but I also had amazing bead resources and started to come up with a line of waist bead products that has become something that I truly love.
When I met women around the United States who are curious about waist beads, I am always happy to share the history and many benefits to spread this cultural tradition. I also find waist beads as a unique way to continue African traditions in the Diaspora.
What Are Waist Beads?
Waist beads are a traditional form of African jewelry that are worn around the waist, by women across the continent of Africa. They are long strings of beads, strung together on a cotton thread and fitted to the waist. Waist beads have been a part of West African culture for centuries, and they hold various meanings and significance to the women who wear them. They are an important part of traditional African culture and are seen as a symbol of femininity, beauty, and well-being.
Some of the key cultural and spiritual significance of waist beads are:
- Symbol of Femininity: Waist beads are often seen as a symbol of femininity and they are worn by women of all ages in West Africa. Initially, they are offered to infant girls who will continue wearing them up to adolescence and into womanhood.
- Body Awareness: Waist beads can help women connect with their bodies and become more aware of their physical movements. They can also help women track changes in their body, such as weight gain or loss, and in some cases, pregnancies.
- Personal Style and Adornment: While meant to be unseen like undergarments, waist beads are often worn as a form of adornment that can enhance ones natural beauty in colorful, playful, or subtle bead colors combinations that may also be accented with crystals, pearls, cowrie shells and more.
- Sensuality and Sexuality: Waist beads are often associated with sensuality and sexuality in West African culture and are a physical way to celebrate and embrace their bodies. They can be worn as a way of expressing one’s femininity and sexuality, and can also serve as a way of enticing a partner.
When it comes to waist beads, there are no rules as to how many anyone should wear. It is purely a personal style and comfort decision. Color and design significance is also very personal. Some chose to wear their beads with intention in colors associated with West African deities like Yemaya and Osun, while others may choose to associate their beads with the chakra system. Or ultimately in colors that will simply make women happy.
How you wear your beads is YOUR decision and YOUR beautiful hidden secret.
Who Are Waist Beads For?
Anyone who is excited about everything listed above!
To add to your waist bead collection or get your first string(s) of waist beads, please check out my waist bead shop with options that range from mild to amazing and wild!