Mehandi is the application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Maldives as well as by expatriate communities from those countries.
The word mehndi is derived from the Sanskrit word mendhika.The use of mehndi and turmeric is described in the earliest Hinduism’s Vedic ritual books. Haldi (staining oneself with turmeric paste) as well as mehndi are Vedic customs, intended to be a symbolic representation of the outer and the inner sun. Vedic customs are centered around the idea of “awakening the inner light”.
Traditional Indian designs are of representations of the sun on the palm, which, in this context, is intended to represent the hands and feet.
Mehndi decorations became fashionable in the West in the late 1990s, where they are sometimes called henna tattoos. Henna is typically applied during special occasions like weddings and Muslim festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha as well as in Hindu festivals like Karva Chauth, Diwali, Bhaidooj and Teej. In some Hindu festivals, many women have Henna applied to their hands and feet. It is usually drawn on the palms and feet, where the design will be clearest because the skin on these surfaces naturally contains less of the pigment melanin. Henna was originally used as a form of decoration mainly for brides.
Mehndi is a ceremonial art form which originated in ancient India. Muslims also use it as an indication of coming of age. Intricate patterns of mehndi are typically applied to brides before wedding ceremonies. The bridegroom is also painted in some parts of India. In Rajasthan, the grooms are given designs that are often as elaborate as those for brides. In Assam, apart from marriage, it is broadly used by unmarried women during Rongali bihu, but there are no restrictions on its use by married women.
Henna is also common in some Gulf States, especially Yemen, where the night before the wedding night is dedicated to decorating the bride with henna, and called “Henna night”.
Some Muslims also use henna as a dye for their hair and for the beards of males – intended to follow the presumed tradition of their prophet, Muhammad, who is said to have used turmeric dye in his beard. It’s considered a “sunnah” and akin to something fortunate/good. In one narration by him, he encouraged Muslim women to dye their nails with henna so their hands could be distinguished from the hands of a male. In the Middle East and Africa, it is common for women to apply henna to their fingernails and toenails and to their hands.
In Africa, henna was used as part of spiritual practices by tribes to decorate their bodies and for protective purposes when certain symbols/designs were incorporated.
In Somalia, henna is applied to women and girls during Eid, weddings, and visits to important people or relatives. In most countries, henna is seen as a way for women to beautify themselves (as jewels), so is well decorated and applied with good care.
UTSAV Fashions is a household name for Indian Fashion Lovers. They recently posted their compilation for beautiful Mehndi Designs for Ladies for Indian Festivals. These designs are very elegant for Festivals like Deewali and also for Weddings in the wedding season 2012.
Mehendi. Who doesn’t like it? Beautiful ritual of applying mehendi during joyous occasions like festivals and weddings add more grace to the Indian culture. Intricate ethnic motifs, contemporary designs or exotic patterns, decorating hands with mehendi (henna) is one of the latest trends to watch out for. So, make your Diwali more special with these artistic Mehendi artworks. Have a look and share which one you would like to design on your hand, this festive season.