The Story of Henna

Mehendi is the art of decoratively applying Henna on the skin, and is generally applied during festive occasions, and most important of it being weddings. Mehendi is an intricate part of a wedding, and is considered to one of the ornaments of the bride, without which her attire is incomplete.


Today, the art of applying Mehendi has spread all across the world, and in many countries, Mehendi is also known as Henna Tattoo, with recent trend of getting a Mehendi not only on hands and feet, but also on backs as well.


But Mehendi has come a long way, and has overcome the test of time to gain such praise from people of different ethnicities.


Although the genesis of using Henna for Mehendi is long lost in sands of time, the earliest use of Henna is seen on the bodies of Egyptian mummies. It is believed that Henna plants had their origins in Egypt, and were carried to the Indian subcontinent around 700 AD, where Henna was started to be used as a decorative accessory. Apart from its decorative uses, Henna has also many medicinal properties, which is also major contributing factor for its growing popularity.


The use of Mehendi was prevalent in the Mughal Era and their ceremonial decorations for women. The Mughal empire had a notable role in spreading the use of Mehendi. As the art of Mehendi started spreading, the designs started becoming intricate and more admirable.


Around 17th Century, the barber’s wife would be called for creating Mehendi designs on the hands of women. The tradition of applying Mehendi to a bride is to decorate her skin. There is a dedicated event, on the night prior to the wedding day, called Mehendi in which sophisticated Mehendi designs are made on the bride’s hands and feet, and smaller, simpler designs are made for the guests. The traditions goes that, deeper the colour of the Mehendi, more the groom would love the bride, and that as long as the bride’s hands are stained with Mehendi, she would not be asked or allowed to do household chores. So would be brides, remember this tip, let your Mehendi stain deeper and richer, so that you won’t have to do the housework for longer.


Today, Mehendi is not limited to just weddings and festive occasions, women get themselves adorned with a beautiful Mehendi, without the need of any festivities. Girls get a Mehendi for their birthdays, dates, anniversaries or even just because they like it. Mehendi is not limited only to women these days, men have also started turning towards Mehendi, as a form of temporary tattoo, which they can change every few weeks!


The colour of Mehendi maybe dark, but its future is bright, very bright!

Author: Falguni Rajpara

Immersing herself into the world of henna and design from the tender age of fifteen, a massive part of Falguni’s appeal is that she is not only updated with the latest design trends but she also creates them.

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