(Image Courtesy: Rob & Lauren)
According to Hindu customs, mehendi is one of the solah shringar or sixteen adornments of an Indian bride. It is considered to enhance the beauty of the bride and is applied at every festival and auspicious occasion. It is an age old custom followed by Indian brides and was originally used as a form of decoration for brides.
The bridal mehendi designs are very intricate and exclusive with beautiful motifs. The motifs include paisley, flowers, leaves, elephant, dhol, shehnai, kalash, peacocks, lord ganesh etc. All these motifs are related to the wedding and are considered to be auspicious. Apart from these motifs the design also contains an image of a bride and groom. The groom is drawn either on a horse or with a shera as this is how he would come to the wedding traditionally. Also the grooms name is carved within the designs and then he is supposed to find his name as a part of one of the rituals. This signifies that the groom is now incorporated in the bride’s life. The designs vary depending on the length. All these motifs are carved in a continuous manner with different patterned fillers. The designs are very intricate with very little spaces and hence look magnificent when completed.
The bridal mehendi cone is different and is made with immense care. It is a mélange of many different ingredients in various proportions to get the deep colour. The ingredients include eucalyptus oil and clove oil which helps for better color. Once the henna is applied, it has to be left overnight for the colour to get darker. Usually a concoction of sugar syrup and lemon juice is applied once the henna has dried as this prevents it from peeling off and also helps in enhancing the colour. According to a tradition Indians believe that the colour of the mehendi is related to the affection of the husband; deeper the colour, greater the affection.
The tradition has been in existence for many years. It started as a function where women of the household would apply henna to the bride –to-be, but these days it’s a popular pre-wedding function which is celebrated on a big scale with various themes and entertainment. Also artists are customizing designs to complement the bridal outfit!