Mehndi, which is also known as henna, is a thick dark paste applied to the skin, leaving behind a dark brown reddish stain on the skin. Why would someone want their skin stained? When applied in detailed decorative designs is leaves an amazingly beautiful pattern on the skin. These are known as has Arabic mehndi designs and they are usually placed on the hands or the feet.
Past of Mehndi:
Henna has been around for nearly 5000 years. Other documentation says that it’s over 9000 years old, but what is known for sure is that it did originate in the Middle East (Pakistan and India) and North Africa. Now the beautiful decorative adornment can be found all over the world. It’s also been said that some mummies found in Egypt had Arabic mehndi designs applied to their fingers and toes. Before being used as a ceremonial body adornment, hennas’ natural cooling properties were widely utilized by the people in the middle east to cool their bodies. They would make a paste out of the henna and soak their feet and palms in the mixture allowing the blood to be cooled as it circulated throughout the body causing a cooling effect. When it was noticed the henna leaving stain marks on the body, the idea to make designs for decorative purposes was developed. That is where the traditional design of Hannah stemmed from. It was said that Cleopatra herself would use henna designs for decorative purposes. Traditionally it was used for special occasions such as birthdays are weddings in Africa and pick Pakistan and India. With a body adornment being around as long as it has one of the fascinating things about henna is that it was not only for the wealthy. Both rich and poor used this plant paste to decorate their bodies with mehndi designs for special occasions.
Present of Mehndi:
The most frequent use of henna is for Mehndi Night. It is the night before the wedding when the bride and her entire family gather together to celebrate the upcoming wedding. The night will have festivities like dancing, games, and music. While they are enjoying themselves, the bride will get elaborate henna patterns put on her hands and feet sometimes all the way up to the elbows as well as knees. Sometimes, these bridal patterns can take hours to complete and are extremely ornate and detailed. Because of the intricate detail and depending on how elaborate the bride wants it, it often is done by more than one artist. Into days mehndi bridal tradition, brides preferred to get their mehndi hand designs done before their big night. It allows them to partake in all the fun activities and enjoy the company of their family and friends. The superstition of henna states that as long as the henna stain appears on the bride, she doesn’t have to do any housework. Also with the darker the stain on the brides’ skin will directly correlate with how good the marriage will be and how great of a mother in law she will have. So any bride would want her henna designs to last as long as possible and be as dark as they can be!