What is the Red String Bracelet?
Many cultures believe that wearing the red string can bring tremendous change to your life. Generally, the red string bracelet is worn by practitioners of 4 different faiths: Hinduism, Kabbalah, Buddhism and Christianity.
Red has had a long tradition in human history for many things. In energy work, this bracelet can become a talisman and be charged with energies that protect the wearer.
These are great gifts for yourself or loved ones as a way to express love, wishes of good luck, and for safety and protection.
Throughout history the red string bracelet has been worn for protection, good luck, and as a symbol to protect against the evil eye. In the modern day, the bracelet prompts and reminds us that we are protected and to have faith to pursue our purpose and goals.
In many cultures, ultimately the red string bracelet is a symbol of being loved and protected. In most traditions the red string is tied to your wrist by a friend, teacher, or someone you trust. However, beyond these similarities, each culture has a rich and interesting, but unique history with the red string protection bracelet or red thread of fate.
Video: How to tie a red string bracelet
Origins of the Red String Bracelet
- Buddhism: red string bracelet meaning buddhism
- Kabbalah: red string bracelet meaning kabbalah
- Christianity: red string bracelet meaning christianity
- Hindusim: red string bracelet meaning hindu
Red String Bracelet Meaning in Buddhism
The Buddhism the red string bracelet is used as a reminder to practice compassion and to follow the eightfold path, especially including right speech and right action, in everyday life.
In Tibetan Buddhism, tying a cord or string around the wrist is common during learning ceremonies to represent lessons learned or to mark the occasion of taking Buddhist vows.
Traditionally, the Lama blesses the string and then ties a knot and imbues it with a mantra. The bracelet serves as a constant reminder of vows received during a ceremony or lessons received during a retreat.
Historically, people believed that tying sacred thread or talisman on the left hand brings blessings. According to sages and ancient scriptures, the left side of the body is considered as the “receiving end”.
This encourages positive vibrations that enable the flow of luck, wealth, and abundance. Even in Feng Shui practices, the left hand is believed to attract abundance.
The tradition of lucky string bracelets in Buddhism began in Laos 500 years ago during a “Baci ceremony”. In Laotian culture, an elder monk invites endeared guests and has them sit around the Basi centerpiece where they perform a ritual where a long chain of cotton threads is tied to their wrists connecting each guest.
Also, in esoteric Japanese Buddhism, the red thread can symbolize the umbilical cord, and thus a lifeline of energy nourishing us. This may also be linked to secret practices that recognize women teachers or that perhaps involve sexual energy or sexual union similar to tantra.
Red String Bracelet Meaning Kabbalah
According to the Red String Book from the Kabbalah Center, it gives a lengthy explanation of the tool of the red string. It states, wearing the Red string is not just a tool to keep us from getting the evil eye from the outside, but it is also a reminder for ourselves to not give evil eye to others.
Tradition of the red string bracelet in Kabbalah
The red string bracelet worn around your left wrist is a Kabbalah tradition used to ward off misfortune and darkness brought about by the evil eye. This tradition teaches us that a red string, wound seven times, as around Rachel’s Tomb, is endowed with mystical powers. It is from this practice that one wraps a Kabbalah red string around their wrist to protect themselves from evil.
Popularity of the Kabbalah Amongst Celebrities
Ever since dozens of famous stars made it public that they are followers of Kabbalah, celebs like Madonna, Ariana Grande, Leonardo DiCaprio, and more stars and civilians alike have been scrambling to snatch up the red Kabbalah string that wards off the evil eye.
The popularity of red string bracelets exploded back in the late 90’s with many celebrities, including many non-Jews. “Led by Madonna and her children, and including Sasha Cohen, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ariana Grande.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_string_(Kabbalah)]
Importance of wearing the red string in Kabbalah
Kabbalistic belief is that in order to succeed in this life and achieve all the goals you have, you need to protect yourself from the negative thoughts, bad feelings, and the evil eye of people around you who may affect you carelessly, unintentionally, or on purpose.
Traditionally, the red string bracelet is worn on the left wrist (the receiving side of the body and soul) sealing protective energy within, while intercepting negative influences that exist outside of the body. The left arm vein connects to the heart and when the string falls off, the wearer’s dreams have come true.
Wearing the red string protection bracelet on the left wrist
The benefit of wearing it on the left hand is not because it is better than the right. From a kabbalistic point of view, the left represents the Desire to Receive. As we know, Evil Eye is when someone Desires to Receive for the Self Alone. Therefore, we put it on the left hand so that whenever we desire something, look at something, want something, we look at the Red String and use it as a filter or a reminder to restrict the Desire to Receive for the Self Alone.
The color red represents the Desire to Receive and the left represents Desire to Receive so, minus plus minus always gives us plus. No harm will happen when you put the Red String on the right hand, but kabbalistically, we would like to receive the maximum benefit from every action and every tool that we use, which is why we put it on the left.
How to tie the red string bracelet
The string is to be placed around your wrist by someone you love and trust. Do not ask someone who provokes negative emotions to help you tie it. According to tradition, it should be tied in tight knots to provide a better protection to the wearer.
Have a friend to place the bracelet over your wrist and to tighten the knot around your wrist.
Try to keep a positive image of people around you in your head while someone you love is tying the red string around your wrist. After that, say your positive thoughts and affirmations out loud for the red string protection to take effect.
Your positive attitude and affirmations are an important part of the process of tying a red string bracelet. If you are in a bad mood or mad at someone, put this off and do it some other time.
The Kabbalah Ben Porat Prayer
The prayer is an important step if following the Kabbalah red string tradition. Have the person you love and trust finish up by reciting the Ben Porat Prayer, which will invoke protection from the Evil Eye. This is the prayer that should be recited:
Just pronounce as best you can, and it’s even fine to just say it in your head. Sometimes we can imagine how a word is pronounced better than our lips can say it.
“Ayin alei porat ben Yosef porat benyivarech ra mikol oti hagoel hamalachshmi bahem vyikare han’arim etvYitzchak Avraham avotai vshemha’aretz b’kerev larov v’yidgu.”
This prayer will stop others from giving you the Evil Eye. Also, you must keep your promise to refrain from negative thoughts and talk. This will help maintain your ongoing protection.
What happens when the bracelet breaks
Some have worn the same red bracelet for 2 years, because they’re made so well! When the bracelet does break or falls off, it is said that it has deflected or absorbed all the negative energies, and can no longer hold any more. It has done its job, so do not be concerned. Tie another one on your wrist as soon as you feel ready.
If you should replace the string bracelet and it falls off again after a few days, you should re-examine your energy and your behavior toward others. This is a good reason to replace the red string bracelet to keep you protected. I always keep some extras around in case I need a new one, or to give as gifts to friends!
As part of this ritual, you must never cut off the string. It has to fall off the wearer on its own accord, at which time a loved one ties another red string around the wearer’s wrist.
The Red String used as a tool of protection since early Judaism
The practice, developed by the sages, involves winding the red string around the tomb of the great Matriarch, Rachel, located in the Land of Israel. The string is then cut into pieces and worn on the left wrist.
Kabbalists believe that by seeking the Light of holy persons, such as Rachel, we can use their powerful influence to assist us in this life. According to Kabbalah, Rachel represents the physical world in which we live. Her greatest desire is to protect and defend all of her children from evil. When we tie The Red String to our left wrist, while reciting the powerful Ben Porat prayer, we unlock her powerful protective energy within us. The bracelet intercepts negative influences intended to cause us harm.
Kabbalah is the mystical form of Judaism. In ancient Hebrew texts, Rachel, Joseph’s mother, tried to conceive for years without success. She’s believed to have been infertile until, finally, she gave birth to Joseph. She died during the birth of her second son, Benjamin. At her death, her only priority was to keep children safe and protected from evil. That’s why Rachel is still revered as a holy mother figure.
A ritual in her honor is tying a red string around her tomb seven times to infuse it with the energy of protection and luck. After removing the string from Rachel’s tomb, it gets cut into bracelet-sized lengths. It’s tied to the left wrist while reciting a prayer for protection. The belief is that the bracelet wards off evil.
Red String Bracelet Meaning Christianity
In Christianity red is a symbol of Pentecost. Wearing a red bracelet on the left wrist may be worn by fellow Christians as a symbol of fire (Holy Spirit) and blood (Christ), or the martyred Saints. Today it is common to see elderly women selling red string bracelets in Israel, particularly in Jerusalem, to Christians and Jews alike.
In the United States, the red string began to grow popular in the 1990’s. Celebrities began wearing them as they joined Philip Berg’s “Kabbalah Center.” This is an example of a religious tradition being used by the masses of popular culture. We’ve seen similar things happen with the Christian Cross, and a number of different traditional symbols.
Some of the traditional benefits the red string bracelet is said to bless us with:
- Positive energies, gaining a closer connection with the Holy Spirit
- Success, prosperity, and God’s blessings (“good luck”)
- Overall happiness and harmony
- Protection from the “evil eye” and witchcraft from external sources
- Protection from dark forces and negative energies from within
- Protection from negative thoughts and misfortunes both from others and from self
The most common scripture referenced in relation to the scarlet string is likely Genesis 38:37-30:
And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb. And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, ‘This came out first.’ And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, ‘How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.’ And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.”
Another source of scripture is in Joshua 2. In the Book of Joshua, Rahab saves the Israelite spies. She uses a scarlet thread in her window as a sign that she may be spared when the Israelites attack the city of of Jericho (Joshua 2:12-22). This is very reminiscent of the the scarlet bracelet being a protection.
“Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.” -Joshua 2:18
Red String Bracelet Meaning in Hindu
The ceremony of tying a red string or “Raksha Sootra” (defending thread) by Hindus is known as Kalava, Mauli, Charadu, or Kautuka. The red thread can be also called a raksha or rakhi, and is put on the brother by the sister to show familial love.
Traditionally, it is tied on the wrist by Hindus before the beginning of a religious ceremony. The thread is tied on the right hand by males and on the left hand by females. The red thread is used to invoke the blessings of the Hindu deities such as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
- From the blessings of Brahma we get fame
- From the blessings of Vishnu we get defending power from evil
- The blessings of Shiva offer us the power to destroy our own bad and negative qualities
In most cases, wearing the red string simply symbolizes an allegiance to the Hindu faith. However, the meaning of this iconic red thread — which plays a part in many Hindu rituals and may even be worn in day-to-day life — goes well beyond its status as a simple symbol of commonality.
It is considered very auspicious to wear Kalave made of red thread during religious functions. By tying it in hand, you win over the enemy and it acts like your defense.
You can recite this Hindu prayer while tying the red thread bracelet:
येन बद्धो बलि राजा दानवेन्द्रो महाबल:
तें त्वाम अभिबद्धामी रक्षमाचल्माचल:
(Yen baddho bali raja, danvendro mahabalah
Ten tvam abhibaddhami, rakshamachal, machalah)
It literally means: Just as the all powerful and most generous King Bali was protected, I tie this thread and may it protect you always.
Sometimes the mostly red kavala features white or yellow braids or accents.
The similar rakhi, a bracelet made from interwoven red and gold threads, plays a major role in the Hindu festival Raksha Bandhan. Like kalava, rakhis are sometimes given by priests to congregation members or presented as gifts among friends. Sometimes, citizens give rakhis to soldiers. In one tradition, a woman ties a rakhi around a man’s wrist to request his honor and protection.
In Buddhism, the color red holds tremendous significance. It is a symbol that impacts one’s life and sustenance of the same. It takes care of the life force and compassion. Red also represents fearlessness, courage and bravery. It rules the tongue portion of the body. Wearing the red string is a reminder that one must show compassion to all. One must be mindful of the tongue, for the tongue can cut deeper than the sword.
Hindu Origin Story
According to this legend, during the Satayuga, King Bali, under the evil influence of his vaulting ego, declared himself to be the God.
Bhagwan Vishnu assumed the form of Vamana, a dwarf Brahmin, and went to Bali to seek alms. Bali, who took pride in being the most generous, sought to know his specific need.
Vamana asked for land equal merely to the measure of his three steps. When granted the freedom to take it anywhere he pleased, the Lord Vishnu emerged from his disguise of Vamana, expanded himself to infinity and measured the whole universe in his two steps. He, then, asked Bali to offer the space for the third. King Bali, thus having lost his entire Kingdom to Vamana, realized that Vamana is none other than Bhagwan Vishnu. He surrendered at His feet and begged to be pardoned.
Having accomplished the purpose of his incarnation, just when Bhagwan Vishnu began to return, Bali requested the Lord to stay back to protect his kingdom, himself. The Lord agreed. Goddess Lakshmi, the Lord’s Consort, realised that the Bhagwan Vishnu had not returned. When she looked for him on the earth, she found the Lord guarding the kingdom of Bali. She, then, assumed the form of a small girl and reached the court of Bali.
When Bali asked her to state her desire, the girl asked for the Lord who was engaged in the security of Bali’s kingdom. Bali realized that the girl is none but the Goddess Lakshmi.
He surrendered at her feet and prayed to her, “Mother, who will protect my kingdom if you take the Lord away?” The little girl, then tore a strip of cloth from her drape and tied that to the wrist of Bali saying, this rakshasutra would protect your kingdom.
Since then the festival of Raksha Bandhan is celebrated. The following shloka in Sanskrit is recited by the sister while tying the thread:
Traditionally, men wear kalava on their right wrist while women wear it on the left. Sometimes, Hindus remove kalava right after worship, while others only remove the symbolic bracelet when replacing it with a new one. Typically, kalava is burned, recycled or consigned to running water rather than discarded in the trash.
Additional Red String Bracelet Meanings
The Red String of Fate
In some traditions the red string symbolizes soul mates who are destined to marry one day. The red string also connects us to people who will create a significant impact on our lives. This can be a parent, siblings or friends.
The red string is seen as the “string of fate.” It is believed to be an invisible thread that binds together individuals who are destined to be married… And the red string serves as that connection, leading us to the right person.
Although the story of the red thread involves an anklet, the idea has permeated the culture as a concept of spiritual connection and favorable destiny. Red string bracelets are often given as general symbols of blessing and wishes for a successful outcome, in marriage or any new venture.
The Red String as a Symbol of Solidarity
In his book “My Hindu Faith and Periscope,” Satish C. Bhatnagar interprets the modern usage of kalava — which he says has been on the upswing in generations following the 1950s — as a symbol of solidarity. “It may be showing emerging Hindu unity that collectively is rarely seen,” he writes.
In some cases, Hindus interpret kalava as a symbol of protection, thought to defend the wearer against everything from enemies to natural disasters. The color red is extremely significant in the Hindu faith, symbolizing both purity and, as the color of the deity, Shakti, prowess. Other Hindu deities that wear red often represent bravery, generosity or security.