Mehendi ceremony is a very important pre-wedding ceremony in an Indian wedding. The beautiful bride adorns her hands and feet with beautiful mehendi designs. As per the traditions go, even the groom applies a little mehendi on his hands as well as his feet. An entire ceremony is a fun-filled event and every family member and close friends of both the bride and the groom becomes a part of this celebration. But, apart from being a fun-filled pre-wedding ritual, the mehendi ceremony also has a deep-rooted cultural significance to it.
Mehndi is one of the sixteen adornments for the bride and her beauty is incomplete without it rather no bridal look is complete without mehendi. If we talk about the history of this ceremony, then I must tell you that it is one of the oldest forms of body art that has been conceived by men. The Hindi and Arabic word Mehendi is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘mendhika’ which is referred to the henna plant itself. Reference to the use of henna can be traced back to the Bronze ages. In India henna has been used as a part of the cosmetic even before Vedic ages. The use of henna is considered immensely auspicious in many traditions around the world, especially within the Hindus.
Bygone are the days when some aunties and sisters were in huge demand around the neighborhood for their expertise in applying Mehndi designs. Now Mehndi ceremony in Indian weddings usually centers around professional Mehendi artist who specializes in the latest trends in mehendi art. Traditional mehendi designs include peacock motifs, floral designs and other elements that would cover every inch of the bride’s hand and feet. For those who like minimal designs, they can choose Arabic designs where the Mehndi motifs are generally applied to a single side of the hand and feet and do not extend to forearms or calves. Latest trends in bridal mehendi designs incorporate colors in between henna motifs, the addition of stones and blings, the inclusion of glitters or metallic dust.
The Mehendi Ceremony usually takes place a day before the wedding, in the morning. The bride and the groom’s family observe this particular ritual separately at their own residence or sometimes they do it at a common venue decided by both the families. It is traditionally a women-centric ceremony with the men of the family generally not participating in the ceremony. The outfits that are preferred for the ceremony are simple. The bride generally chooses pastel-colored outfits as it is in the morning and flashy colors would not look good.
It is not compulsory for the groom to apply Mehendi, but a little mehendi is applied on his hands and feet as a part of the tradition. The ceremony also involves applying of oil to groom’s hair but this is the custom of only some religions. The henna for the bride’s mehendi ceremony has to arrive from the groom’s side along with some gifts like fruits, dry fruits, and sweets.
The Mehendi ceremony hosts a number of traditional beliefs that have been handed down by generations. Traditionally, within the bridal Mehendi, the groom’s initials are written. As a part of post-marriage ceremonies, the groom has to find his initials in his bride’s mehendi. This simple gesture facilitates a nice ice-breaker for the newlywed couple especially if their marriage has been arranged. It is also said that if the color of the mehendi is dark, then the bride will receive more love at her in-laws and especially from her husband.
Mehendi ceremony as a pre-wedding ritual is not just for cosmetic reason but has deep underlying scientific reasons behind it. Henna is known for its calming properties and thus it calms the bride’s nerves when applied to her hands and feet. Indian weddings are a host of pre and post wedding rituals that extend the happy occasion through days before and after the actual wedding day. These colorful events actually bring the whole family together, even from far off places. The immediate and extended families, friends and neighbors get together to celebrate the union of two souls through various time-tested rituals throughout a span of several days.
The Mehendi Ceremony is one such event that is an indispensable part of the Indian wedding celebrations. Mehendi ceremony mostly refers to the application of henna paste or Mehendi in elaborate designs on the bride’s hands and feet. An immensely colorful event, with lots of singing and dancing involved, the Mehendi ceremony officially kicks off the wedding festivities in full gear.
It is a fact, that the mehendi ritual is commonly observed in parts of northern India, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, but the trend has also gained popularity all over India. More and more cultures and traditions nowadays are embracing the idea of Mehendi Ceremony as a part of the pre-wedding rituals because of the aesthetics involved. This ceremony has become a symbol of grandeur, fun, and festivities, and also an excuse for some major pre-wedding girl bonding.
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