Young brides in the Indian Subcontinent get their hands and bodies painted with paste of powdered henna or mehendi, in fact in India this semi permanent form of body art is practiced in almost every household. Young women of the household get their hands and legs painted with the wonder herb. These paintings are both beautiful and intricate. Traditional motifs are drawn on the hands of young brides amidst much fanfare. The paisley motif is the most popular one.
The Significance of Henna Body Painting
The tradition of mehendi, as it is called, is considered to be auspicious as the bride’s fate is decided by the shade of the color. The darker it is the more will her husband love her.
The technique of Applying Mehendi
A concoction of henna powder, oil and lemon juice is applied to the skin using a plastic cone or a paint brush. The painted area is then wrapped with tissue paper, plastic sheet, or medical tape. This helps in locking the body heat, creating a more intense colour on the skin. The wrap is worn overnight and then removed. The final colour is reddish brown and can last anywhere from two weeks to several months depending on the quality of the paste.
The Henna is a flowering shrub with fragrant flowers. To create the dye, the leaves are dried and ground into a powder that is greenish, tea leaves or lemon juice is mixed with the powder to release the color.