When you think about how simple to make and how multi-functional the humble bead is, it should come as no surprise that there many bead gift giving traditions around the world, with many of them being more than a thousand years old and also being tied to communicating with one’s God.
Catholic Rosary Beads
Possibly the most well-known bead that is commonly given as a gift in the West is the Catholic Rosary Bead. Strung on a thread, Rosary beads give the faithful a way to physically keep track of the number of times one says the Hail Mary.
Muslim Prayer Beads
Muslims also frequently give prayer beads to one another. Normally made up of either 33 or 99 (3 x 33) smooth beads, the Misbaha is used in the same way that Rosary beads are used by Catholics, to keep track of prayers.
Buddhist Prayer Beads
Buddhists use and give as gifts their own form of prayer beads that usually contain either 108 beads or a divisor of 108. Of particular beauty are the dzi beads that are made of stone and worn as protective amulets by Buddhists around the world.
Mardi Gras Beads
Though folks do throw beads to women in the hopes that they’ll get a special viewing in return during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the baring of the little sisters is not quite as prevalent as the media would have us believe, In fact, the locals and organizers of the event frown upon this behavior.
Adding a Pearl Necklace Tradition
This giving of pearls to daughters is a lovely tradition. Specifically, parents will give their daughter a starter pearl necklace and then for each birthday and other special day, the girl will get additional pearls from family members so that the necklace grows in concert with the girl’s growth into womanhood.
Charm Bracelet Beads
Giving charm bracelet charms and beads as gifts in the same fashion as parents and grandparents give pearls to girls in the adding-a-pear tradition is as old as America is. Once a girl has a charm bracelet, she will love to get beads and charms to add to it in celebration of the milestones of her life.