Metti or the toe ring is worn by women in India as an indicator / symbol of their married status. It is referred to in Hindi as ‘bichiya’ , ‘jodav’ in Marathi, ‘mettelu’ in Telugu & ‘kaalungura’ in Kannada.
It is believed that wearing Metti on the second toe exerts pressure on certain nerves in the body that relate to good health and the reproductive system, thus enhancing chances of pro creation. In India we firmly believe in the importance of nerve endings in our toes and it is referred to as ‘prana’ or life force. In other words it also refers to the concept of acupressure points in the toes.
Generally toe rings are made of Silver only since Gold is considered to be ‘ pure’ and hence forbidden from being worn below the waist.
Silver is also said to be a good conductor that is capable of absorbing energy from Mother Earth and passing along the energy to rejuvenate the entire system.
In ancient times it was men who wore mettis as a symbol of their marital status but the practice was discontinued by them for varied reasons. In fact even today in some weddings you will find the groom wearing the metti during the wedding ceremony. In fact there are episodes in ancient Hindu tenets to support this theory.
It is believed that Lord Vishnu with his consort Thayaar decided to teach a lesson to Thirumangai Alzhar who was waylaying and looting newly married couples of their ornaments in the Thirunagari area. He appeared with Thaayaar [ bedecked in gold ornaments] as a couple and was waylaid and looted. Azhwar was unable to remove Lord Vishnu’s metti and is said to have bit it with his strong teeth and removed it. But as the Lord willed otherwise Azhwar was unable to life the booty and so goes the story of what followed.
Even today there are historic & religious references to these episodes in temples in those areas.
It is clearly obvious from this that any practice proposed in the Hindu Dharma is based on science and it is not a religion made of rituals and superstitions but one on strong scientific theories on how to live life.
As event planners a common problem we see faced by many a bride is at the moment when the metti is to placed on the toe. Invariably there is an element of discomfort and delay when the metti is placed on the toe and it refuses to go in smoothly.
As wedding planners we always carry a small bottle of vaseline with us. When the toe is covered with vaseline there is lubrication and this helps in slipping on the toe ring smoothly without hurting the skin or causing delay in rituals.