The custom of applying ‘Mehendi’ to a bride, or as they call it in certain cultures – ‘Henna’, has been an important ceremony in most Indian and Arabian marriages, dating back to as far as tradition can hold. But where most traditions seem like a duty, a bride’s mehndi ceremony is rather taken-up as another opportunity for merriment. And since the charm of a traditionally clad Indian bride lies in the intricate detailing that adorns her hands and feet, the Mehendi design plays an important part in the ceremony. There is an array of mehendi’s designs to choose from –
The Indian design : Known for it’s fine lines and elaborate detailing, the traditional Indian Mehendi Design looks no less than a beautiful story starting at the arm and running down to the tip of the fingers. At times, getting more innovative and customary, this design imbibes into it’s patterns the drawings of a bride and groom, and even the various outlines of the sacred peacock bird and it’s gorgeous feathers. This goes ahead to add to the traditional and orthodox feel of the Indian Wedding, bringing to it a certain sense of authenticity.
The Arabian design : Being more spacious and bold in it’s patterns than the Indian Mehendi Design, The Arabian Mehendi style is no less beautiful. With brilliant and intrepid floral patterns imbibed within fine line, this particular design style ends up becoming a treat to the eye with it’s visually dynamic yet sophisticated traces.
The African Design : Though not very popular and rarely seen on Indian or Arabian brides, the African Mehendi Design if done rightly, keeping in mind it’s fixed patterns, can turn out to be a one in a million idea. Keeping true to it’s nature of the wildlife rusticity of the African culture, the design patterns consists of bold circles with intricate lines, at times even bringing along with it, elements of sacred animals and symbols. This one design is definitely for the bride who is looking to add that extra edge to her mehendi party.
But in whatever style you wish to apply your mehendi, one thing which always is a cause of concern for most brides is the colour of the henna. While some like it’s orange tinge, others prefer the deep maroon hue. However, there is always a hitch not to get it too orange, almost making it look smudgy; or too dark, which might make it appear daunting. While some think the right colour is in the correct mixture of the ingredients, others get a tad bit romantic sticking to the old handmaiden’s tale that ‘the deeper the colour of your mehendi the greater the love in the marriage’. While some ideas may seem as folklore, there are others that have been passed down generations of brides in the family, which when put to practice happen to be effective. These are those old secrets which help keep her mehendi last longer and look more beautiful, in course, brightening her bridal charm!
An application of a lime juice and sugar mixture over your dried-up mehendi helps retain the arid bits in place. This then helps seep in the red tinge to the skin for a longer period of time, leaving the mehendi pattern to have a bright and vivid look.
Another rare ‘grandmother’s secret’ to get your mehndi having the desired effect, is through the use of cloves. Scientifically, a dark mehndi colour is usually credited to the heat from the blood, and cloves have that natural essence known for the warmth it generates. Thus, to get a brilliant colour to your mehndi, take around seven to eight cloves and heat them over a saucepan. Gently turn your hands over the pan getting as much of the heat coming from the cloves on your dried-up mehndi. Further massaging any Vapour Rub over the washed-off mehndi also helps generate the warmth.
Last but not the least, avoiding much contact with soap and water always helps.