A powder is a dry, bulk solid composed of a large number of very fine particles that may flow freely when shaken or tilted. Powders are a special sub-class of granular materials, although the terms powder and granular are sometimes used to distinguish separate classes of material. In particular, powders refer to those granular materials that have the finer grain sizes, and that therefore have a greater tendency to form clumps when flowing. Granulars refers to the coarser granular materials that do not tend to form clumps except when wet.
Sindoor (Hindustani: सिन्दूर or سندور, Bengali: সিঁদুর) is a traditional red or orange-red colored cosmetic powder from India, usually worn by married women along the parting of their hair. Usage of sindoor denotes that a woman is married in many Hindu communities, and ceasing to wear it usually implies widowhood. The main component of traditional sindoor is usually vermilion.
Sindoor is traditionally applied at the beginning or completely along the parting-line of a woman’s hair (also called maang) or as a dot on the forehead. Sindoor is the mark of a married woman in Hinduism. Single women wear the dot in different colors ("bindi" in Hindi) but do not apply sindoor in their maang. Hindu widows do not wear the sindoor, signifying that their husband is no longer alive. A version used in Hindu rituals or puja is known as Kumkum. This also lends itself to the name of a wedding ritual in some Hindu communities, known as 'Haldi-Kumkum'. The sindoor is first applied to the woman by her husband on the day of her wedding and is called as Sindoor Dana ceremony. After this time she must apply this every day herself in the parting of her hairline.
The wiping off of the sindoor is very significant for a widow. There are many rituals associated with this practice. The most common being the mother-in-law or older sister-in-law wiping off the sindoor when the woman becomes a widow. The widow will break her bangles and remove her bindi as well. Many Hindu women will also remove their nose ring and toe rings as well. The parting of hair is symbolic of river of red blood full of life. When the sindoor is removed then the river becomes barren, dry and empty. This custom is prevalent in rural areas and is followed by all castes and social ranks. The red sindoor is significant for the married woman as she is full of colour. When she becomes a widow she adopts the white dress and removes all colour from her face including the bright red sindoor.