Mehndi


Mehndi
Mehndi applied on a palm.
A Henna or Mehndi applier at work in Rishikesh, India.

Mehndi (Hindi:मेहँदी) or menhdi is the application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration in India, as well as by expatriate communities from the country. The word mehndi is derived from the Sanskrit word mendhikā.[1] The use of mehndi and turmeric is described in the earliest Vedic ritual books. Haldi(Staining oneself with turmeric paste) as well as mehndi are important Vedic customs as a symbolic representation of the Outer and the Inner Sun. Vedic customs are meant to awaken the "inner light" and so the gold of the inner Sun has an important symbolic function.

Traditional mehndi designs draw the sun on the palm, which in this context represents the mind. 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 Hindu festivals like Karva Chauth, Diwali, Bhaidooj and Teej. In some Hindu festivals, every woman tries to have Henna done on her hands and feet. It is usually drawn on the palms and feet, where the color will be darkest because the skin contains higher levels of keratin which binds temporarily to lawsone, the colorant of henna. Henna was originally used as a form of decoration mainly for brides.

In the modern age, usually people buy readymade Henna cones, which are ready to use and make painting easy. However, in rural areas in India, women grind fresh henna leaves on sil (grinding stone) with added oil, which though not as refined as professionally prepared henna cones, brings much darker colors.

The term henna tattoo is figurative, because true tattoos are permanent surgical insertions of pigments underneath the skin, as opposed to pigments resting on the surface as is the case with mehndi.

Likely due to the desire for a "tattoo-black" appearance, many people have started adding the synthetic dye p-Phenylenediamine (PPD) to henna to give it a black colour. PPD is extremely harmful to the skin and can cause severe allergic reactions resulting in permanent injury or death.[2] Alata (Mahur) is a flower-based dye used to paint the feet of the brides in some regions of India. It is still used in Bengal.[clarification needed]

Contents

Tradition

Mehandi decoration of palms and feet of a bride

Mehndi is a ceremonial art form which originated in ancient India. 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 (there are no restrictions to the married ones).

Process

Application of the Henna paste

Henna paste is usually applied on the skin using a plastic cone or a paint brush, but sometimes a small metal-tipped jacquard bottle used for silk painting (a jac bottle) is employed. The painted area is then wrapped with tissue, plastic, or medical tape to lock in body heat, creating a more intense colour on the skin. The wrap is worn three to six hours, or sometimes overnight and then removed. When first removed, the henna design is pale to dark orange in colour and gradually darkens through oxidation, over the course of 24 to 72 hours. The final colour is reddish brown and can last anywhere from one to three weeks depending on the quality and type of henna paste applied, as well as where it was applied on the body (thicker skin stains darker and longer than thin skin).

Mehndi celebration

Weddings in the India can often be long ritualistic and elaborate affairs with many pre-wedding, wedding and post wedding ceremonies. The occasion of Mehndi ceremony is often one of the most important pre-wedding rituals especially for the bride. It is a fun filled ritual, which is celebrated mainly by the bride's family. Different regions of the country celebrate the ritual in a different way according to their own marriage customs, rituals, and culture. Mehndi ceremonies take place outside the India amongst the Indian community and places like Birmingham in the UK are such known hotspots for lavish Mehndi celebrations.

The ceremony is mainly held at the bride's house or at a banquet hall on the eve of the marriage ceremony or few days before the marriage. Generally the bride and groom attend the event together and on the occasion a professional henna artist or a relative applies mehndi to the bride's hands and feet. The designs are very intricate. Often hidden within the mehndi pattern the name or initials of the groom are applied. The event generally has a celebratory festival feel to it with the women dancing and singing traditional songs and the girls wearing vivid colours such as hot pink and yellow, often if the bride to be wishes to tease her future groom she will make him wear purple. The groom usually wears jutti instead of western footwear.

Gallery

See also

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mehndi — Mehndī Le mehndī (de l hindi ou de l ourdou मेहन्दी, mehndī ), désigne habituellement l art de l application du henné sur la peau. Mehndi ou tatouage au henné sur la main Le mehndi est une forme provisoire de tatouage, populairement utilisée dans …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mehndī — Le mehndī (de l hindi ou de l ourdou मेहन्दी, mehndī ), désigne habituellement l art de l application du henné sur la peau. Mehndi ou tatouage au henné sur la main Le mehndi est une forme provisoire de tatouage, populairement utilisée dans divers …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mehndi — Mit Henna bemalte Hand Mehndi auf Armen und Beinen, (Gujarat, Indien) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • mehndi —    The traditional art of hand and foot painting in India, and parts of Africa and the Middle East, especially for weddings, festivals, and other celebrations. (Literally, mehndi is an Indian word meaning myrtle, a plant important to many Indian… …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • Mehndi — Mehn|di das; [s], s <aus gleichbed. Hindi mehndi, eigtl. «Henna[strauch]»>: a) (ohne Plural) mit Hennafarbe u. feinem Pinsel aufgetragene Hautmalerei; b) einzelnes rostrotes, arabeskes Ornament des Mehndi (a) …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • mehndi — /men dee/, n. 1. the art or practice of painting elaborate patterns on the skin with henna. 2. a design or designs so made. [ < Hindi < Skt mendi the henna plant] * * * mehndi /menˈdi/ noun The art, esp in India, of painting intricate… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Mehndi — …   Википедия

  • mehndi — /men dee/, n. 1. the art or practice of painting elaborate patterns on the skin with henna. 2. a design or designs so made. [ < Hindi < Skt mendi the henna plant] * * * …   Universalium

  • Mehndi — Mehn|di, das; [s], s [Hindi mendhī = Henna(strauch)]: a) <o. Pl.> (aus Indien stammende) mit Hennafarbe aufgetragene Hautmalerei: Im Gegensatz zur großen Schwester Tätowierung wird bei M. ... die Farbe nicht unter die Haut geritzt, sondern… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • mehndi — Inglish (Indian English) Dictionary henna, a red substance used to dye hair and to decorate women s hands and feet at weddings …   English dialects glossary


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