Every girl envisions her wedding. A red Lehnga, jewelry, and Mehndi are on her checklist. However, there is more to Mehndi rituals in weddings. Mehndi which is also infamous as Henna is the symbol of positivity, joy, beauty, a spiritual offering, and awakening. The herb itself has medicinal qualities as it cools down the nerves of the bride, relieving her from stress.
Mehndi ceremony is celebrated as a Solah Shringhar ritual, mainly for the bride. Apart from the bride, groom, sisters, her friends and female relatives attending the wedding apply henna too to join the auspicious event. How many days before the wedding mehndi ceremony is commemorated often varies from region to region but most commonly it is the night before the wedding.
Spiritual Value of Mehndi Ceremony
There is a spiritual value to the mehndi rituals in weddings. The old saying is that Goddess Parvati applied henna on her hands and feet to please Lord shiva. It became a custom after that and has been an integrated part of a wedding ceremony itself. The herb is said to have its scent also has aphrodisiac properties.
Some also believe that if an unmarried girl dried mehndi scraping from the bride’s hand, she would find a potential match herself soon. The initial of the groom’s name is hidden in the mehndi design on the bride’s hand and it is taken as a challenge on both sides to hide it impeccably and for the groom to find it.
As the last part of the Mehndi ceremony, If the groom fails in finding his initial after then the bride would be the dominant partner in their married life. As a significant number of marriages are arranged by the families, It is considered to be the artful way a first physical touch is initiated between the couple which is honestly so adorable.
Mehndi Ceremony and The Celebration
The mehndi ritual in weddings is to apply the mehndi sent by the future Mother in Law. usually is a small bowl of hand-made mehndi to complete the ritual and then a professional henna artist hired by the bride’s family completes the design skillfully with a cone they usually prepare themself.
There are traditional Vedic Indian mehndi designs but nowadays brides are taking up Arabic and Moroccan styles in their bridal mehndi designs. Some also have Hindu gods and goddesses figures drawn up as well as natural elements like peacocks and tulsi plants.
Salvation of Mehndi
Mehndi ceremony also includes telling the tale of Mehndi Mata who was turned into Mehndi’s plant as salvation for her sins by Goddess Luxmi for trying to seduce Lord Vishnu. Mehndi is for the long life of the groom and why there is a common belief that the darker the color of the Bride’s Mehndi is, the more her husband would love her.
Modern Indian weddings now include a full-fledged extravagance for the mehndi ceremony. Family members and guests would get together to dance while the bride’s entourage applies mehndi. Food and snacks are served Although, It is separate from the Sangeet Ceremony itself to bring the two families together.
Mendi Ritual in Various Regions
But Mehndi rituals in a wedding are not to be taken as a tradition for Indians only. It is also crucial in India’s neighboring countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal. Turkish ‘henna evening’ is also a pre-wedding event that resembles the Indian mehndi ceremony. In Rajasthan, the grooms’ hands are decorated with mehndi designs as elaborate as the bride’s.
In the country of Yemen, such bridal tradition is very complex and the Jewish henna process would take up three or more days to complete due to multiple applications. In India’s own state, Kerala, Mehndi which is known as Mylanchi is used by the Mappila community during weddings and other festivities.
In closing, It is clear that Mehndi has always been an integrated part of wedding rituals in various cultures and religions. The way of conducting the mehndi ceremony itself has changed but what has not changed are the emotions and pure belief and faith in Mehndi.