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Traditions of henna as body art

Mehendi is a plant that grows mainly in India, Iran, Pakistan and many other Middle East countries. From ancient times, women in these countries have used Mehendi to color their palms. The leaves of these plants are crushed into paste to use the paste for creating designs made with the help of thin steel blunt needles, or by smoothing the ends of twigs. The flowers of this plant are called henna. Henna, like the leaves, gives a red color when crushed and is used for cooling the body during the summer. The essence of the flower has some medicinal properties and is used as a healing ingredient for leprosy, dry skin, conditioning of the hair, and it is said to help if a person has insominia. Today, you can find Mehendi/Henna in Mylar cones and plastic tubes. It is one of the oldest art forms originated from India. Though many countries still use Mehendi, also used interchangeably with Henna, India and Pakistan are the most popular countries to use this the art form. Mehendi is goining more and more popularity throughout the world, especially in countries such as the UK and USA.

Women love to adorn themselves with Henna on special and auspicious occasions like, wedding, baby shower, parties or any happy occasion. It is believed by many that it is the symbol of prosperity and happiness. In ancient times, the mother-in-law would look forward to see how dark the color turns up on the new bride, which would indicate that her daughter-in-law will bring prosperity and happiness to the family. It was also believed that the mother-in-law would love her daughter-in-law if the color of Henna is dark on the bride’s hand.

Henna Designs

The use of mehndi and turmeric is described in the earliest Hinduism's Vedic ritual books. Haldi (staining oneself with turmeric paste) as well as mehndi are Vedic customs, intended to be a symbolic representation of the outer and the inner sun. Vedic customs are centered around the idea of "awakening the inner light". Traditional Indian designs are of representations of the sun on the palm, which, in this context, is intended to represent the hands and feet.