Exciting And Effervescent: Mehndi is Definitely a Queen of all Indian Wedding Ceremonies
Mehndi Ki Raat Ayi Mehndi Ki Raat, Dekhe Koi Pyari Dulhan Ke Haath....This Bollywood number races up in our mind as soon as we think about ‘mehndi’. And that’s because it’s one of the most vibrant celebration in an Indian wedding and is quite cool and quirky too. Splash of colours, fun, music, entertainment and the enthusiasm takes the ritual of mehndi to a whole new level. The function of mehndi becomes memorable and one to remember for being fun-centric, colourful, vivacious and bubbly.
Well, apart from the fun element we must also understand the essence of mehndi as to how it perfectly purifies and beautifies the whole Indian wedding and the rituals associated. From rituals, to customs and significance, mehndi is a big deal when it comes to celebrating a wedding in an impressive and traditional way. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that it as integral a part of every dulhan’s sringaar as much as her jewellery. Let’s have a sneak peek into the mesmerizing mehndi ceremony.
The Mehndi Function
Mehndi ceremony is usually held a day before the main wedding where the paste of mehndi is applied to bride and groom’s hands and feet. Along with the rituals, mehndi calls for loads of fun, furore and excitement. The event is celebrated to mark the beginning of a wedding and appears first or second in the sequel to the wedding rituals. No wonder, this eclectic ceremony is a hit among the guests. Gorgeous colours, beautiful decor, the fragrance of henna, flowers and some music add to the charm of the lovely ritual. Close family members, relatives and friends celebrate the ritual on small or large scale as per their budget, time and convenience. It’s completely an individual choice as to how much extravaganza and ostentations he/she wants. Many people rope in dancers, mehndi experts, decor planners, DJs for music and dance and famous caterers for luxurious meals.
We know the process but how mehndi is deep rooted in Indian culture will enlighten us further. People know about this art and ceremony since time immemorial and it is said that the ‘art of henna’ and the practise is more than 5000 years old. Back in time henna was used because of its natural cooling and therapeutic properties. It was alleged that till the time the dye or stain of henna remains in body, henna keeps imparting its cooling properties. The patterns and the stain left in body gave rise to the idea of adorning the body and hands with mehndi during ceremonies. Henna can also be referred back to the old age called Bronze Age and to the Vedic Ages as well. Henna has been related to beautification and cosmetics since the time of Queen Cleopatra who herself is known to using mehndi to adorn herself. Eventually mehndi became a part of every woman’s especially bride’s solah sringaar.
The henna which smells pleasant and captivating are actually the leaves from the henna shrub. (also called hina or mignonette tree). The leaves imparts characteristic colour when crushed or grinded into a paste. The shade varies between light orange to dark maroon depending upon the quality of the leaves. Application of henna on hands and other parts of body is like a temporary tattoo work. Dried henna leaves are also stored and made into a paste when needed. Paste is usually soaked with water or tea liquid for application on hands and feet for getting rich texture and colour. There are lot of after care if you want to get rich and dark hue.
There are ample beliefs, importance and symbolism associated with mehndi. Apart from the cooling effect, cosmetic treatment and decorative purposes, mehndi is said to be the lucky charm for people who applies it. It also became an alternative for jewellery and ornaments for poor people to adorn themselves with. Today, this ancient tradition is a part of all many occasions like birthdays, family events, weddings, bridal showers etc. The art is completely immersed in hearts of Indian women. Mehndi is applied to brides and grooms during wedding for bringing good luck, warding away the evil spirits and also for remedial purposes. Once applied, the bride and groom are not allowed to step out of their homes.
The traditional heavy mehndi designs are passé. The brides these days go for preppy and out-of-the-box patterns to adorn their hands. An event of mehndi has become a trendy affair for which brides pick edgy themes and styles to be adorned on their palms and feet. Love messages, travel icons, professions, shlokas, realistic couple caricatures, hobbies morocco patterns and flowers; the contemporary brides want intricate designs that stand out and compliment their style. A few also poses for underwater shoot with henna clad hands and feet taking the style factor far beyond the tradition.
Mehndi designs have transformed into romantic and creative patterns. Well, the traditional part is retained as well where the brides-to-be get their husband’s initials or complete name imprinted. The letters or the hidden name is supposed to be searched by husband later on, which is absolute fun and playful to mark the wedding ceremony. This name-game amusement forms a part of almost every mehndi and wedding rituals.
Mehndi and Music
Setting the stage on fire is like a must with any Indian event and ceremony. Dancing to the Bollywood beats, picking family members to shake a leg, giving stage performances are something that you just cannot miss at an Indian mehndi ceremony. Friends and cousins from both bride and groom’s side are just unstoppable to make it a glitzy gala. The naach gana and masti undoubtedly steal the show and the hearts. Couple’s fun entry, couple dance and surprise performances make the ceremony complete and high-spirited. Preppy numbers from Bollwyood are like an icing on the cake.
No wonder the decor is kept as colourful and rich as the mehndi to make the festivity look traditional and royal. The burst of colours, accessories in Rajsthani theme, resplendent props, drapes, ceilings puppets, umbrellas, clay pots, floaties (if it’s a poolside event) and other figurines takes the style quotient of the event high and contributes to a joyful mehndi affair. The royal, splendid and ethnic vibes keeps the magic and fun of the ceremony alive.
The rich ethnic outfits’ takes take the uniqueness of the affair a step forward. Creative couture of the bride, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen and other family members become the show stealers for the fun-filled event. There are a few who get their outfits customized to match the taste and colour of the event. Intricately done ensembles, stylish patterns, and eclectic colours quirks up the event and add a dash of punk and flamboyance. The mehndi laden hands, jazzy outfits are a sight to behold during the grand ceremony.
Gifts and presents always make an occasion cool and livelier and so is it with the mehndi ceremony. Things like bindi, jewellery boxes, bangles, pouches and clutches are a big hot when it comes to giving things as gifts for the mehndi function. There are many other offbeat options to please your guests like keeping a live station with a bangle maker who will prepare bangles in laac or threads and hand over to the lovely ladies. Chunnis, cosmetic combo packs and other vibrant accessories are ladies’ favourite and wow them instantly. The giveaways keep the spirit, pleasure and the enthusiasm alive among the attendees.