The 'Sindoor' or the 'Vermillion' powder or 'Kumkum' signifies married. Its a symbol as of marriage like the engagement ring or mangalsutra for that matter. In a Traditional Hindu household, these two things are symbolic of a married women. Sindoor or the Red Dot is generally applied on the hair parting. It is said that a married women should adorn herself with Sindoor till she is married. Its an integral part of our Wedding Ceremony though nowadays many young boys and girls do not follow this tradition.
According to Hindu mythology, it has been suggested by scholars that the red color imparts power and when sindoor is applied to the parting of the hair it symbolizes the energy of female divinity – Parvati and Sati. It is also believed that if a woman wears sindoor in her hair parting then Goddess Parvati will bless her husband with the longer life. Application of sindoor also wards off evil and invokes Goddess Parvati to safeguard their husbands. Applying sindoor is considered to be auspicious as it brings good fortune.
In earlier times, women preferred to prepare Kumkum or Sindoor at home. The sindoor is prepared using mercury, turmeric and lime. The mercury in the sindoor acts as a catalyst that eases stress and strain. It also helps in keeping the brain active and alert. So we have a scientific reason to apply sindoor as well. The Mercury not only keeps the Blood Pressure in check but also helps in controlling blood pressure, activating sexual drive and libidinal energy.
Sindoor is not just used by the womenfolk of India. Even men, boys, girls and little children apply a dot of this powder on their forehead when they visit a temple or attend some religious function.
However, for married Indian woman, it's is almost compulsory to apply Kumkum