To answer the question, “What is mehndi?” is quite simple. Mehndi is basically a henna tattoo design. This art form originated, and is primarily practiced in, the Middle East and India. Henna is a plant, which is made into a paste and placed in a tube for application; the tube is similar to what is used to decorate a cake!
Pretty cool, huh!?
Mehndi, or henna, patterns have been used for millennia by indigenous peoples of India and the Middle East. The mehndi designs and styles differ from region to region, just like a fashion trend differs from country to country.
The paste used to make henna tattoos, or mehndi, come from a plant named Lawsonia inermis. The plant is quite hardy, and is able to endure droughts and high temperatures of tropical climates.
As stated before, mehndi has been around for millennia; in fact, pharaohs during in ancient Egypt use the plant dye to cover their gray hair. Ancient Egypt is not the only place in history that henna is referenced, Hindu religious texts describe mehendi designs being used on practitioners of Vedic customs. It is believed that Hindus used the designs as symbols of their belief that one’s life should be devoted to uncovering their inner light.
The world has advanced quite a bit since the time of Egyptian pharaohs, and the henna paste used to construct mehndi designs is readily available in premade cones. There is no longer any need to use a mortise and pestle to grind the henna plant into a paste (Yeah, less work!).
Today, mehndi designs are primarily applied to men and women about to be married. The designs adorn the bride and groom’s feet, as well as hands, with the intention of providing blessing to the soon to be married couple. The designs, in addition to the blessings, project a unique beauty that accents the couples chosen fashion. The unique beauty of the mehndi designs is often used in place of jewelry if the bride and groom are not able to afford gold bracelets, necklaces, or rings.
Well, there you have it…A brief explanation for “What Is Mehndi!”