Mehandi Art (Henna) : A Tradition of India; How to Apply Mehandi, Its Significance!
Would you like this Mehandi art on your palms?
Mehandi Art: To Decorate Palms And Feet:
© Chitrangada Sharan Aug. 2013
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- Mehandi also known as Henna, is a herb and is used to decorate and adorn hands and legs in India.
- After application and drying, it leaves a bright orange colour, like the Sunshine, which is temporary. This colour stays for one to two weeks, depending upon the quality of Henna.
- It is part of Indian culture and tradition and is considered auspicious to apply it on Weddings, festivals, such as Teej, Karwa Chauth and special occasions. But it has become so popular that now it is applied any day.
- In earlier days, the leaves of Mehandi or Henna were plucked and ground into a paste. Then it was applied on palms in beautiful designs.
- But now it has become a much bigger affair. Leaves are dried, packaged and sent to bigger cities. They are available in packets or cones and are easy to apply.
- Just an artistic hand and you can create innumerable designs, each one better than the other.
- You can find Mehandi application experts almost in every market and you should see their expertise in applying Mehandi, to believe it.
- Added attraction is that it is affordable and quick.
- Shravana month or the Rainy season ( July-August), is particularly considered auspicious for applying Mehandi and all married women and girls apply it very enthusiastically.
Interesting facts about Mehandi/ Henna!
- Mehandi, Henna (Lawsonia inermis) is also known as hina.
- The Henna tree is a flowering plant.
- The English name "henna" comes from the Arabic word, ḥinna.
- The name henna also refers to the dye prepared from the plant and the art of temporary body art based on those dyes.
- Mehandi or Henna has been used since ancient times to dye skin, hair and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool and leather.
- Henna was used for cosmetic purposes primarily in Ancient India. It was also found to be used in the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia, Carthage and other parts of North Africa, and the Horn of Africa.
- Bridal henna nights are an important custom among many traditional families.
- Indians apply Henna on their hands and feet on festivals and weddings and any auspicious occasions.
- Mehandi or Henna will leave an orange colour only when wet grounded and not when it is a green shrub.
How the Mehandi is applied?
1. Mehandi or Henna powder is available in markets at any general store or cosmetics shop.
It is available in 100 gms. to 500 gms. packets.
Mehandi paste is also available in cones, which is already wet and soaked in water, ready to apply.
2. If you buy dry powder, you should soak it in water for at least four to five hours, before application.
3. The water quantity should be such that the paste resembles a cake batter.
4. You can fill the Henna paste in cones, just as you do for fine thin icing on the cake.
5. You can then apply Mehandi oil on your palms, before making beautiful designs on your palms. If you do not find Mehandi oil, just apply olive oil.
5. In India, drawing of the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, Peacock, Flowers, Leaves, Conch shell and others are considered auspicious.
You can draw anything beautiful with your imagination.
6. For professionals, it does not take much time to apply Mehandi designs.
Would you believe, that the application in both the palms in the above picture just took 15 minutes!
7. After application, you have to let it dry, which takes more than two hours. The longer you leave the better the results.
8. It is better not to apply water to remove the dried Henna, at least for the day. So it is advisable to finish all your hand work, before application.
9.You can even apply lemon juice on your palm for a deeper colour.
10. Mehandi leaves a bright orange colour, much like the rising Sun.
Did you like this traditional Indian Art?
Why Apply Mehandi: Significance of Mehandi application
- The application of Mehandi is an ancient tradition. It is a symbolic representation of the Inner and the Outer Sun. The main idea is to 'awaken the inner light.'
- Sun is the ultimate source of energy to the mankind. So it is worshipped as a Vedic practice. Application of Henna is in fact symbolic to awakening of inner consciousness.
- There is a special ceremony before weddings, called Mehandi, in India.
- All relatives and friends are invited and Mehandi is applied to every women. Professionals are hired to apply Mehandi.
- There is an extravaganza with folk songs, dances and delicious food. Everyone blesses the Bride to be.
- The practice of application of Mehandi has become very popular and has spread in many other Asian countries as well.
© Chitrangada Sharan 14th Aug. 2013
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Mehandi application, source: You tube
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