Mehndi Ceremony is among the pre wedding rituals in Indian weddings performed a day prior to the marriage. Just as Haldi ceremony symbolizes cleanliness, mehndi signifies beautification.
Mehndi has always played a major role in India culture, especially in weddings. It is believed that the darker the bride’s mehndi is, the more her husband will love her. The putting of mehndi is a tradition which is awaited and enjoyed by all brides. In some cases, even the husbands apply mehndi for the wedding. However mehndi is not only restricted to weddings. A large number of women do still put mehndi on their hands for a variety of occasions.
The mehndi is applied using either a plastic cone or a paintbrush to create a series of beautiful patterns especially on the individual’s hands. The paste is then left to dry for at least 15 to 20 minutes. The paste will slowly dry and crack after which it can be removed. For those who wish to make the mehndi design darker, a mixture of lemon juice and white sugar can be used to remoisten the henna. The Mehndi designer will then wrap the painted area in tissue to trap the body heat ensuring it stains darker. One can also use moisturizing creams and oils to allow the mehndi to last for longer.
The female relatives of the family also apply mehndi on their palms to take part in the celebrations. This ceremony is performed by families of both the Indian bride and the Indian groom.Even the color of mehndi is given high importance in Indian culture as the darkness of the color signifies the degree of husbands and mother-in-laws love. It depicts love and affection between the couple as it is believed that the longer it retains, the more auspicious it is. The bride is traditionally not allowed to work in her husbands home until her mehndis color fades away completely. Mehndi is applied on all the important occasions, festivals and vrats(fasts) in Hindu culture. It is important in festivals such as Karwa Chauth, Rakhi, Diwali etc. It is also considered as a shagun mostly denoted by the pattern of large dot in the centre of the hand with four smaller dots at the sides.
The Mehndi ceremony in India and Pakistan is celebrated with great extravagance. In Hindu tradition, the ceremony is held in the bride’s house. Most families hire for home services as usually all the women in the family get their hands designed. The designer will use a number of intricate designs making them unique for each woman. In some cases the initials of the groom are added to the bride’s design. In Pakistan the ceremony is perhaps the most important ceremony performed. In countries like Bangladesh however the ceremony is divided into two parts, one which is held in the bride’s house while the other in the groom’s house.
In order to make this conventional trend of henna application more exciting, fashionable and fun filled, there is a vast variety of mehndi designs available today. Arabic Mehndi, Rajasthani Mehndi, Crystal Mehndi, Tattoo Mehndi, etc along with the traditional Indian Mehndi are among the most popular styles of mehndi currently. Mehndi designs majorly consist of floral patterns, religious symbols, etc. while adding beauty and uniqueness to each design applied.