There is one thing that no Indian, Pakistani, Arabic or Asian bride can look gorgeous without. It is mehndi drawn on her pretty looking hands and legs. Wedding celebrations are kind of incomplete without this decorative art which is drawn on hands and feet, all the way upto the knees.
Henna or mehendi comes from a small shrub brush called Lawsonia Inermis that grows about 4 feet high. It is grown in various tropical climates of Asia and Africa.
The word Mehndi finds source from the Sanskrit word ‘Mendikha’. In the Indian context mehndi designs for weddings is one such customary ritual that adds unique flavour to traditional and theme-based weddings and festivals such as Teej, Ramzan and Karva Chauth.
Whether it is Saifeena jodi or Soha Ali Khan tying the knot, bridal mehndi has been known to mesmerise guests and hosts alike. In the town of Somalia, the guests at the wedding wear a mehndi design made of black and red henna.
From being an auspicious symbol of the Indian wedding ceremonies to its international star-value, Hollywood celebrities like Madonna and actress Demi Moore were among the first celebrities to be seen wearing mehndi.
Over the years, bridal mehndi has grown from being simple to ornate, with Swarovski crystal rhinestones and glitter being added to it.
Depending upon the bride’s preference, mehndi designs for engagement include peacock motifs, mango motifs, intricate flower vines to geometrical motifs such as paisleys.
Even religious idols such as Lord Ganesha and Shiva Parvati are a part of bridal mehendi designs. But in some cases even the bride and the groom are illustrated in the palms of the bride.
While an intricate pattern occupies the palms of the bride, the fingertips are dyed to create a visual impact.
Sometimes the bride’s name initials are also drawn in a mehndi design and hidden from the would-be husband so that he can locate the name. Call it a conspiracy or leg pulling, the idea behind bridal mehndi is to promote love and bonding between the would-be couple.
Teenagers nowadays no longer go for the traditional styles. Wearing trendy tattoos using black and silver mehndi on arms, necks, shoulders and navel is the new cult that has picked up amongst the younger lot.
Believed to have healing powers, mehndi is used in curing skin diseases, preventing hair thinning and cool off the skin especially in hot climates.
Mehndi flowers produce perfume and the Egyptians are believed to have made oil and an ointment from them for increasing the suppleness of the limbs.
Mehndi will continue to flourish for generations as long as the art of decoration stays worldwide.