If you’ve heard of a Mehndi wedding you might ask, “What is Mehndi?” It’s actually a small tropical shrub which can be ground into a paste when dried to create a rusty-red pigment, but it is also known as the practice of painting elaborate henna patterns on the skin. When all this comes together, the pigment from the Mehndi is used to create temporary mehndi wedding tattoos in Hindu weddings. It is applied at the Mehndi Ceremony which takes place the night before the Vivaah (marriage) in a celebration for the bride’s side of the family. For this party, a professional Mehndi artist or family member applies the Mehndi in intricate designs on the hands and feet of the bride and other women in the family. Today, Hindus often use the terms mehendi and marriage interchangeably.
The Meaning Behind Mehndi Tattoos
Much that is involved in the Mehndi wedding holds special significance and meaning. In the case of these Mehndi tattoo designs, they symbolize joy, beauty, spiritual awakening, and offering, but beyond that they signify the prosperity the bride will bring to her husband. And it’s more than an artistic expression. For a Hindu Vivaah, it plays such a vital role in a number of the rites during the nuptials that if there is no Mehendi, there is no wedding!
Superstitions Behind the Mehndi Wedding Tattoos
While the Mehndi plant creates a rusty color pigment, it is considered a good sign for the newlyweds if the wife’s tattoos are created by deeply colored designs. Among Hindu women, it is commonly believed that the darker the design on the bride’s palms, the more her mother-in-law will love her! Another bonus for a darker imprint is that the new bride isn’t expected to do any household chores until her wedding Mehndi fades.
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