Waist Beads are a customary accessory originating fr charms, stones and crystals

For centuries, women in a number of cultures in Western and Northern parts of Africa have worn waist beads. They became so popular that in recent years, they found their way to the Western part of the globe. Other terms used to describe waist beads include waistline beads, beaded waist chains and belly beads.

In countries such as Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali, Benin, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde and others in West Africa, waistline beads are used to symbolize sensuality, spiritual welfare, fertility and femininity. Nowadays, women in Africa and those in the United States wear waist beads to enhance their beauty and for practical reasons.

Nevertheless, they remain an intricate part of the African culture for several reasons. Some of the uses of waist beads are explained below.

Origin of Waist Beads

Many believe that the history of waist beads can be traced to Egypt as far back as the fifteenth century and was worn by women as a status symbol. In the Egyptian culture, waist beads are referred to as "girdles." In West Africa, historians believe that the tradition of waist beads may have originated among the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria and extended to other parts of West Africa.

Origin of Waist Beads

What are Waist Beads Used for?

When Ann was asked why she wanted to buy waist beads by her friend who wore them in different colors, her response only came in: "It appears everyone wears one and really, I admire yours."

Indeed just like Ann, many people may not have the idea that there are distinct and different reasons why beads are worn around the waist. As fashionable as it appears, in some parts of Africa, waist beads have specific histories, meanings, and symbols attached to them. While the present-day might refer to some as myths or superstitious, there are several reasons why waist beads are part of the African tradition.

To Symbolize Sensuality and Femininity
Waist beads are commonly described as “femininity strands filled with color.” They are truly beautiful and appeal to every eye. There are beads for women of all age groups, body size and body type. The customary Ghanaian culture allows women to wear beads to symbolize their femininity, show off their wealth and for practical reasons such as anchoring clothes used during their monthly cycle.

Waist Beads

Body Awareness
Waist beads or belly beads are used as a tool of measurement or tracker in determining weight loss or weight gain. Africa waist beads are fitted to the size of the woman's abdomen and slight change in the usual position of the waist beads symbolizes a difference in weight. if you´re reducing size or weight, the beads on your waist will roll lower, and if you´re gaining weight, then they will become tighter. Keep in mind that African waist beads won't keep you slim miraculously they should be used as body trackers to remind you to control weight

Waist Beads

Adornment and Intimacy
Around the world, women use waist beads during intimate setups to enchant their lovers. Some believe that having them on improves their chances of conceiving during intimate relations. The Krobo and Ashanti communities of Ghana add bells and larger beads on waists to ensure that a woman notifies nearby suitors that she is fertile.

Others wear beads under their clothes so that only their lovers see them. Such waist beads are accompanied by special lingerie to make the moment special for their partners

African Waist Beads

In regions where waist beads have cultural attachments, they are used to show one’s growth and maturity. In some West African cultures, girls approaching adulthood are given a pair of waist beads by their mothers when they get their first period. Filling out a pair of waist beads may symbolize getting into another stage of life. In such cultures, the beads may have to be changed to signify that they are no longer in puberty.

Ghana Waist Beads

Improving Posture
When you wear waist beads, you become increasingly aware of your posture. Depending on whether you are leaning or sitting, the beads fit you in different ways. This notifies you whether you need to let your back or stomach muscles relax, sit straight or breathe in a different way.