By The Spiritual Explorer | Published 19 August, 2015
Dear Spiritual Explorer: I’m getting married and want to make myself as beautiful as I can. Do you have any suggestions? Lena P., New York, NY
Earth Henna Body Art Kit & Mehndi Designs
Dear Lena: I went to a pre-wedding party where the bride had a number of mehndi designs to choose from. The woman who was applying them was from India and that seemed to add a different feeling for sure. It was as if her country of origin authenticated the mehndi designs more than anything else.
Different trends of mehndi designs
This woman whose name is Shari told me that the trend these days is not to cover the hands entirely with henna. Instead, the latest mehndi designs for hands are to give you a beautiful look, using space intelligently. The variety of mehndi designs is truly amazing. In fact, Shari had a book replete with mehndi designs and we all gathered around to look at this book, not without envy I might add. I think the other women were dying to ask her to come to their home and apply some mehndi designs.
Some of the latest mehndi designs include using flowers, leaves, and animal drawings. The peacock and scorpion are all the latest mehndi designs, taking the art industry by storm.
Chain style mehndi designs
Shari also told me that an interesting style that has gained popularity is the chain style mehndi design. This style looks very delicate and can be decorated on both the hands and feet. Women who do not like to cover their hands totally with henna are happy with this avant grade look. In fact, many women replace jewelry with this chain style mehndi design. As Shari talked about the chain style, one of the women told me that she was going to have it tattooed on her ankles. I heard her immediately calling her tattoo artist for an appointment.
Mehndi designs evoke ancient symbols
How did mehndi designs become popular? For over 5,000 years, henna has served as a symbol of good luck, health and sensuality in the Arab world and provides a link to an ancient age full of good and bad spirits. Generations of women have used the paste made primarily of dried ground henna leaves to cover their hands and feet with designs ranging from simple shapes to intricate geometric patterns designed to ward off evil, promote fertility and attract good energy. The earliest clear evidence of henna application on the body appears in Egyptian mummies whose hair and nails were stained with tones of henna.
Are mehndi designs a sign of submission?
One of the women at the party told me that she would never do mehndi designs because she felt it was somehow submissive and harkened back to a time when a woman was chosen because of her fertility and ability to create a lineage for her husband. Shari responded by saying that marriages were and are still arranged. So in that instance, one might think that it requires some kind of submission to obey one’s parent’s dictates as to the prospective spouse. However, Shari told me that making oneself beautiful through doing mehndi designs is a way of regaining that power in the relationship. Women often feel more powerful when they are dressed beautifully.
The How To of Mehndi Designs
Henna paste is usually applied on the skin using a plastic cone or paint brush. After about 15-20 minutes, the mud dries and begins to crack and during this time a mixture of lemon juice and white sugar can be placed over the henna design to remoisten the henna mud so that the henna will stain darker. A wrap is worn for 2 to six hours or sometimes overnight and then removed. When first removed, the henna design is pale to dark orange in color and gradually darkens over the next 24 to 72 hours. The colors can last anywhere from one to three weeks depending on the quality and type of henna paste applied.
Well, as the party wore on, there was much merriment and if anybody thought that the bride would be of the submissive type, they should have heard her raucous laughter when she revealed some sensitive information about her soon be wed husband. A good time was had by all!
If you have a question about “Mehndi Designs,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer.
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