Waist beads are traditional accessories made from seeds, glass beads or crystal stones worn around the waist. Waist beads have been worn by African women as a symbol of femininity and prosperity for centuries and it is believed to have been in existence since the 15th century.
Waist beads are popular across Africa. According to Google Arts & Culture, “Beads were first made in Africa from organic materials – like bone, shells and seeds – many thousand of years ago.” African women have traditionally worn these beads as a symbol of femininity, attraction and sexuality.
Women use it to adorn or accentuate their waistline thereby making their hips appear bigger and flexible. It is one of the best selling accessories in west Africa.
The Yorubas call it the “ileke” and they come in various shapes and sizes and suited for all body types.
These are some of the reasons people wear waist beads.
Just like many other accessories such as watches, earrings, bracelets and necklaces that people wear on their bodies, a lot of women wear waist beads to beautify and adorn their body.
Some women wear waist beads because it is believed to attract the oposite sex. It is believed that waist beads stir up deep emotional responses. There is a saying that “it is the beads that make the buttocks to shake”.