Significance of Mehendi
Among the many traditions that are infused into Indian weddings, one of the most prominent is the bridal mehendi ceremony. This is the day when mehendi is applied on the hands and feet of the bride and even the groom. While the bride has a very elaborate pattern done on her hands and feet, the groom usually has just a token design. Mehendi is a very important part of both Hindu and Muslim weddings in India. In fact, applying mehendi designs is a custom during any celebration in Mauritius, be it Wedding, Diwali, Ramadan or any other festival.
Beliefs associated with mehendi
It is a common belief that the darker the color the mehendi leaves on the hands on a bride, the more will she be loved by her husband and mother-in-law. However, the significance of applying mehendi designs during weddings is not restricted just to sentiments and beliefs. Although these beliefs make the application of mehendi a much anticipated and charming tradition, the actual reason is of much deeper significance, which is sometimes forgotten in the present day
Besides lending color to the hands, mehndi is a very powerful medicinal herb. Weddings are stressful, and often, stress causes headaches and fevers. As the wedding day approaches, the excitement mixed with nervous anticipation can take its toll on the bride and groom. Application of mehndi can prevent too much stress because it cools the body and keeps the nerves from becoming tense. This is the reason why mehndi is applied on the hands and feet of the bride, which house nerve endings in the body. Also, being a highly antiseptic agent, mehndi can protect the couple from viral diseases. Such diseases are totally undesirable just before the wedding and this medicinal herb can lend a strong shield. Any small cuts, burns or scratches that the couple might sustain during the course of so many rituals and customs can be healed easily with the application of mehndi. It improves blood circulation in the body and enhances general health. The initial practice of applying mehndi in ancient times began in order to protect the couple and keep them healthy.
Mehendi applied during Indian weddings is not just a plain paste of mehendi powder and water. Eucalyptus oil, a bit of clove oil and a few drops of lemon are added. These oils not only help in darkening the color of mehendi on the body but also enhance the benefits of mehendi and make the paste highly medicinal. The best part is that the smell, the beautiful rich color and the health benefits that mehendi lends act as a powerful aphrodisiac. Also, since the color and smell remain for days, it boosts the romance in the initial days of the wedding.
Islamic belief is also very strong regarding mehendi and its application during weddings is a very significant part of Islamic weddings as well. According to holy Islamic scriptures, the Prophet always administered mehendi application and as a drink to people suffering from diseases. So, it corresponds to the Hindu ideology of using mehendi before weddings. Mehndikirasmis held a couple of days before the Nikah ceremony and is celebrated with a lot of pomp and honor.
It is Henna Time!
Women, don’t put Heena on your clothes.. It looks better on your hands !.”
Present trends in Mehendi
Although times have changed and a lot of new inclusions have been made in Indian weddings, the significance of the mehendi ceremony has grown in stature. Many families bring in DJs to play songs and celebrations that go on until late in the night. If something has changed about the ceremony, it is the designs and patterns. While only intricate Indian designs were traditionally applied in the past, brides today are experimenting with Arabic designs and Indo-Arabic designs and mixing shimmer pastes along with the traditional mehendi paste. Semi-precious stones are also embedded in the design. It is traditional to write the name of the groom on the bride’s palm. In some regions, this is also a small ritual after the wedding. The groom is made to search for his name, which is usually smartly written so as not be readily visible.
The mehendi ceremony is a reflection of the rich Indian culture, bringing together the knowledge of medicinal herbs with many lovely sentiments and beliefs. The result is a ceremony filled with fun and joy and the perfect precursor to the auspicious wedding day.