Mehndi is an artwork that is usually done on hands and legs using henna, an ancient Indian herb. It is a kind of tattoo, which stays on hands and feet for a temporary period. Mehndi is one of the important rituals that are usually conducted prior to a wedding ceremony in India. Traditionally it is applied on bride’s hands and feet prior to the marriage. Even men wear Mehndi on certain auspicious occasions. Application of Mehndi indicates various good things about the post marriage life of couples.
Mehndi - Symbolic reasons
Mehndi is considered as a mark of love between couple. An Indian bridal Mehndi design usually has elaborate details, where the designer weaves in the bridegroom’s name into the design. On the marriage day, the bridegroom is put to a task of identifying his name in the design. If he is unable to find, then it is assumed that the bride would dominate her husband in their post-married life.
On the Mehndi day, the close relatives and friends of the bride assemble to decorate the bride with beautiful Mehndi designs. The design and pattern vary according to the bride’s living location and family culture. Most of the Indian brides wear Mehndi on palms as well as over the feet. The Mehndi design usually runs up to the bride’s elbows and knees. All the Indian brides wish to have a dark brown color Mehndi, which they believe would bring fortune and blessings of in-laws.
The Mehndi styles vary depending on the region and culture. But you will commonly see complicated normal designs and curvy patterns in Indian native Mehndi, and find strong mathematical patterning in Persian or Arabic styles. The normal designs bear the images of flowers, vines and leaves but the images of animals or rarely used. The typical Indian designs include images of Peacock, which is the Indian national bird or elephant, which is believed to bring fortune. In some regions, the bridegroom also embellishes his hands, but commonly, the focus is mostly on the woman.
Preparation of henna paste
Preparing a henna paste is quiet easy today and when added with color boosting natural agents, the Mehndi design looks bright and adds more beauty to the bride. Henna seems to have existed and used even during the Egyptian era. The queen Cleopatra is believed to have dyed her hair with henna pack. Researches reveal that even certain Egyptian mummies wore Mehndi on fingers and toes.
Mehndi is usually prepared from the leaves of henna, which is also called Cypress flower. The henna plant normally grows four to six feet tall and is found in India and Middle East countries. The henna leaves are smashed into fine dust and then water is included to it to make a paste. Some natural ingredients are added to the paste to improve the color. Mehndi came into use because of its cooling effect and a healing tendency that soothes the body in a hot country like India.
Bridal Mehndi – Guidelines for preparation
In this modern time, even the Westerners and Hollywood celebrities are using mehndi. It is quickly gaining popularity amidst people in world ethnicity. Bridal Mehndi include intricate designs for which a fine henna dust is essential. The designer usually sieves the henna powder to extract fine dust from it. The designer then makes the henna paste adding oil such as eucalyptus or mehndi oil along with color boosters like lemon juice or tea powder and mix it with water.