India is a land of rich customs and cultural heritage which makes even marriages a special occasion here. According to Hindu belief, marriages are made in heaven and once you are married it is supposed to last for seven lifetimes. The Hindu based holy-marriage doesn’t merely mean combining two souls but it is a connection between two families.
The beauty of weddings is due to its numerous traditions that are associated with a special celebration. They are incomplete without dance, music, and lots of laughter. The Indian Weddings are not a one-day ceremony but involve long processes, with various rituals that may take days to be executed. Among various traditions, one of the oldest traditions involves applying Mehendi to the bride before the wedding i.e. the Bridal Mehendi Ceremony.
Mehendi is symbolic of the love between the couple and their families. People often believe that the darkness of the mehndi color represents the deep love between the bride and the groom. Mehendi is being as a cosmetic for the past 5000 years. The history of mehndi dates back to the Mughal period. The belief is that the Mughals introduced mehndi in India during the 12th century AD. At that time, the royal and rich used to decorate themselves with it. Artists and beauticians made the mesmerizing patterns.
In the wedding of Lord Shiva with Parvati, Goddess Parvati decorated herself with Mehendi to please Lord Shiva. Since then, every single Hindu wedding practices this custom. Mehendi is also a part of Solah Shringar recommended getting the bride ready for her new life. Not only it brings luck and joy but its scent also has aphrodisiac properties.
It is asserted that every tradition has a science behind it. It adorns the beauty of hands and lending colour, Mehendi is a very powerful medicinal herb. Hindu weddings are not a one day occasion. Therefore, they are often stressful. The stress can even cause headaches and fevers.
Mehendi acts as a coolant, it soothes the body and prevents the nerves from becoming tense. Therefore, small design is made on the groom’s hand too. Mehendi has many antiseptic properties. It protects the couple from viral infections before the wedding. Also, it is beneficial for the growth of nails. It’s cooling properties calm a person’s nerves when applied on hands and feet.
It is held a day before the actual wedding ceremony. The Mehendi ceremony is actually an emotional Shringhar ceremony. Beautifying the bride and groom and preparing them for their wedding day is the main aim of this ceremony. It is mainly for brides-to-be. However, a mark of mehndi on the groom’s hand is also considered a good omen. The mehndi ceremony is a fun-filled event and sees the girl power mostly. Apart from the bride and the groom, the bridesmaid, her friends and relatives also beautify their hands with this body art.
The fun-filled ceremony is an important pre-wedding ritual. It is significant in the Indian subcontinent as well in the neighboring countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal. During weddings, the Mehendi of the bride’s hands usually includes the hidden initials of the groom’s name on her palm.
People say if the groom fails to find it, the bride will be more dominant in their married life. This is also seen as a subterfuge to let the groom touch the bride’s hand, thus initiating a physical relationship.
Another belief regarding Mehendi is that if an unmarried girl receives scrapings of Mehendi leaves from a bride, she will soon find a suitable match.
In astrology, the color red is the color of the planet Mars. Mars is the signification of energy both constructive and destructive. However, its energy is constructive, if one handles red color with care. It gives the desire and determination to succeed in material life. Due to these qualities of Mars, red is the color of celebration. A bride wears red clothes, applies mehndi and nail polish, and wears bangles. All in the shades of red as red signifies vigor and rich and colorful nature of married life.
Mehndi designs are also adorned on the hands of Gods and Goddesses. Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi are mostly seen with a large dot in the center of hand with four small dots at its sides.
Mehendi is a must on all important occasions, festivals, and during fasts in Hindu culture. It has great significance in festivals like Karwachauth, Raksha Bandhan, Teej, Diwali, etc. Besides Hindus, Muslims in India also adorn their hands with mehndi during Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. Not merely in festivals, Mehendi is of a great significance in performing classical dances like Bharatnatyam.
There is another belief that the color of mehndi will depict the love between the newlywed couple as well as about the bride’s relations with her mother in law.
Mehendi, extracted from a plant named Henna holds a great significance in Ayurveda too. It is significant worldwide due to its therapeutic feature and medicinal properties. According to Islamic literature too, Prophet Mohammad used Mehendi to dye his beard and to treat the unwell.
It can help in lowering body temperature and can soothe burning feet and even hysteria or a violent temper. It can increase the luster of nails, is effective in muscular rigidity, and can cure jaundice. Also, Mehendi is a natural hair dye that renders a beautiful color on hair and creates a lustrous look.
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