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Weddings in India

Bridal Mehndi Designs

Wedding is an elaborate affair in India, comprising of a large number of rituals, customs and traditions. One of the important rituals, especially in context of the bride, comprises of 'Mehndi' (commonly known as henna). As a part of this ritual, the powder of henna leaves is mixed with water (and many-a-times, oil and lemon juice as well), to form a paste. This paste is then applied on the hands as well as the feet of the bride, in the form of intricate patterns. The henna is removed only after the design dries off completely. However, the bride cannot wash her hands and feet with water, for the next 12 hours at least, to make sure that the color comes out to be dark and rich.

Significance of Bridal Mehendi
In context of an Indian bride, mehndi is believed to signify the strength of her marriage as well as the amount of love that she will receive in her husband's house. In fact, it is said that the darker the color of the mehendi (on the hands and the feet of a bride), the stronger will be the marriage and longer it will last. At the same time, the dark color of henna is also said to mean that the bride will receive a lot of love from her husband as well as her in-laws. This is the reason why, after the application of bridal henna designs, the bride undertakes a lot of efforts, like applying oil or heat, to ensure that the color is dark. The application of henna, on the bride's hands and feet, is also considered to be auspicious.

Bridal Mehendi Designs & Patterns
Amongst the traditional henna designs, drawn on the hands and feet of a bride, one can include the 'baraat' scene and the 'doli' scene. Baraat is the term used to denote the procession of the groom, including all his family members, relatives and friends, before he arrives at the wedding venue. 'Doli' signifies the end of a wedding ceremony, when the bride goes away with her husband. Both of these designs are extremely intricate and involve long hours of labor. Apart from that, the common bridal mehendi designs include peacock, kalash, flowers, leaves and conch-shells. Whatever be the design, drawing images of the bride and groom, as well writing the groom's name, on bride's hands, is compulsory.

Modern Trends
With the changing times, the type as well as style of bridal mehndi has also undergone a vast change. Rather than the traditional mehndi (made from henna leaves), brides have started opting for tattoo mehendi, chemical mehendi, stone mehendi and even sparkle mehendi. In these types of mehndi, altogether different designs are used and accessories like tattoos, sparkles and stones are added to make eye-catching patterns. Some other henna concepts that one can find in the present times include zardozi mehndi, nail paint mehndi and poster color mehndi. One of the main reason brides are opting for the new styles is that their application takes much lesser time and they do not require hours of drying.

Mehndi Ceremony
Initially, mehendi used to comprise of a small ceremony, in which only the close female relatives and the friends of the bride were invited, along with the family members. They used to apply mehendi on the hands of the bride as well as each other. In the present times, the ceremony has undergone a lot of change. Now, men have also become a part of the ceremony, where the guest list includes almost all the people who are invited to the wedding. Professionals are called in, to apply henna to the bride as well as the guests. Drinks, an elaborate dinner and a rocking DJ form the other aspects of the present-day mehendi ceremony.

Henna Designs

Henna, also known as Heena, is a form of body art that has existed since times immemorial. Not only in India, but in countries like Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Morocco, Yemen, etc, henna has been a popular form of traditional body art and design. This form of body design is also known as Mehndi, especially in the Asian countries like India. It is used for numerous purposes, as a mode of personal expression, for religious occasion, as a part of social functions, for healing purposes, etc.

Henna in Contemporary World
The current trend of globalization has led to the opening of the national boundaries. With this, cultural integration has taken place and the practice of applying henna has crossed borders. Infact, the traditional practice has today acquired new interpretations and uses. Famous celebrities of U.S.A. and Europe, including artists, actors, models, singers, pop stars and musicians, have started patronizing the use of henna, along with that of its traditional designs. Foreign going to Asian countries look for places where they can get mehndi applied.

Popular Henna Patterns and Designs
Though there are no set patterns or designs for Henna, there are some popular designs that have been followed since ages. One of the most popular designs is that of a checkerboard. The outline is usually in the shape of a ‘Paan’ leaf and square boxes are drawn intricately inside. Then alternate boxes are filled with henna thus giving the look of a checkerboard. Another popular pattern is a lovely peacock, with the sharp and curved beak and the corona on the head. Some people also go in for partial designs. This means that a beautiful creeper with flower patterns and leaves are drawn from the index finger to the wrist, the entire palm is not filled with designs.

Why is Henna Popular
The best aspect of heena is that it is totally natural, made from Lawsonia Inermis plant. Its leaves are first dried and then, crushed to make a fine powder. While applying, the powder is mixed with water. This makes heena totally safe to use. Along with that, its application is totally painless and the effect is temporary. You can use henna to get tattoos, without worrying about pain or infection. In case you are not satisfied with a particular tattoo, just wait for a few days. Its color will soon wash off and you can easily go for another design.

Benefits of Henna
Apart from this, mehndi has a number of other beneficial effects too. It cools the skin and is also used for coloring, cleansing as well as conditioning hair. Lawsonia Inermis (henna) plant grows in areas with a climate. One can easily find this plant in counties like Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Morocco, Yemen, Egypt, Uganda, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Senegal, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and India. The other names by which the plant is known are Henne, Al-Khanna, Jamaica Mignonette, Egyptian Privet, and Smooth Lawsonia.


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