Mehndi is a sign of age-old Indian tradition. It is otherwise called henna, which also has herbal qualities for treating human hair. Indian women have a craze for applying mehndi on their hands on various festive occasions that are being celebrated in different regions of India. Applying Mehndi for new brides is celebrated as a part of Indian marriages, which also accompany other rituals like Haldi. When it comes to marriages, bridegrooms are not the exception.
An age-old tradition
Application of Mehndi has been in Indian practice since 5000 years ago. Some historical researches reveal that the Mughals initially brought the practice of applying Mehndi during their empowerment in India but there is also a wide notion that the tradition has its actual origin from India. Mehndi is prepared from the leaves of a plant called "Henna". Henna is a derivative of a Latin Arabic word called "Heena".
In the olden days, Mehndi was applied directly by the bare hands without using any application tools. On the previous nights of festive occasions, women and men of the families used to gather at a center place of the house and help each other to apply Mehndi on their hands. They usually prepared the Mehndi paste by crushing the henna leaves. They also used some additives like lemon juice, eucalyptus oil and big sized betel nuts while grinding the paste. These additives have the significance of improving the color of the Mehndi. The applied Mehndi is left overnight to dry and transfer the associated color, which is usually a maroon or dark red color, onto the palms.
Today, due to lots of practical advancements, Mehndi is available in the form of cones and powder. They are produced adding additives and preservatives and available in almost all fancy shops and departmental stores. The designs and styles of Mehndi vary according to different regions of India. The standard styles include Indian, Arabic, Pakistani and African. Due to the advent of Internet, Mehndi is also gaining popularity in Western countries attracting more westerners towards its bright color and design.
Various styles of Mehndi
Let us discuss the four major Mehndi styles practiced in India:
The typical Indian Mehndi design usually refers to a big dot centered at both the palms. The main big dot is surrounded by 4 or 6 small dots in a circular direction around the palms. All the five finer tips are covered with Mehndi like caps. This is a very simple and age-old design yet looks very attractive if the color catches up well.
The Persian or Arabic Mehndi style offer less details to the design but transfers strong color to the skin. Most of the Persian styles consist of simply leaves, grape vines as well as few wonderful flowers.
Pakistani mehndi style is the most precise one therefore the use of the Pakistani Mehndi would take more time than the other styles.
The African Mehndi styles include geometrical figures such as dots, triangles, squares, circles etc. They are less used in Indian traditions.
Myths about Mehndi
Mehndi also carries some myths or beliefs. For example, if you take a wedding, application of Mehndi is considered as a pre-nuptial ritual. The color of Mehndi is believed to indicate the status of the bride’s married life. If the color turns out to be dark and attractive, the bride would have a bright and successful marriage life.
Mehndi in Beauty Salons
The beauty salons in India announce Mehndi offers during festive occasions like Diwali, Eid, Karva Chauth, Bhaidooj and Teej. Since women of today mostly go to beauty salons for applying Mehndi, the salons come out with attractive offers and designs.
Mehndi for hair
Women also prefer application of henna paste for hair nourishment. But the preparation of henna paste for hair slightly differs from that one we apply on hands. Henna serves as a natural hair-conditioning agent. It minimizes dandruff and gives your locks a normal shine!