Anklets which are also called ankle bracelets or ankle chains have been worn by women throughout history. Aside from functioning as foot adornments, they also signify social status and have other symbols. For most people who are not aware of the lifestyle, anklets are simply anklets and do not have any meaning. And that is the tricky part because it is difficult to differentiate woman who wear them for symbolic reasons.
In India, anklets have been worn for centuries. Indian women wore anklets to enhance the functioning of the reproductive system, stomach and feet. Also in ancient Indian culture, anklets with charms dangling on them were worn mostly by married women. Those helped family members to know when they were coming by the sound of the anklet and accord them the needed respect.
Sometimes, anklets are joined by a chain on both legs. The practice which originated in Southeast Asia was meant to add to the femininity of a woman’s walk. The chains caused the wearer to take short, tripping-like steps. In the later part of 20th century, wearing anklets became fashionable in the United States. Like bracelets, the jewelry can be used as medical IDs for people who have conditions such as diabetes or epilepsy. The idea of wearing anklets later extended to the areas of law enforcement as well.
Anklets were used for prisoners who were under house arrest. Some anklets feature auditory functions while others may monitor the prisoner for the consumption of alcohol.
Also in ancient Egypt, women of all social classes
wore them as ornaments (gold or silver depending on their financial status). Some others claim that the worshipers of a deity called baal prescribed the use of anklets for prostitutes for easy identification. These days, Egyptian women no longer wear anklets in public as Islamic conservation has tagged the practice as immodest. However, they are still commonly worn by dancers in public events.
In some cultures, the anklet is actually a symbol that a woman is married and yet available to other men for sexual activities with the consent and encouragement of her husband. When a married woman wears anklets, it is a symbol that she is a ‘Hot wife’ and is open to relationships and sexual encounters with men other than her husband. There are also other nasty interpretations of the anklets by different sects.
In Nigeria, anklets do not have any known specific symbols other than its status as a fashionable piece of jewelry. Anklets are beautiful and fashionable but not all women wear them just for fashion’s sake. Whatever your reason for wearing anklets, ensure it is positive. Be careful not to be lured or misunderstood. Verify its significance in your own very cultural milieu before you make it your style.