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Henna: Wedding Traditions of India

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Henna Art for Indian Weddings

The art of henna (called mehndi or mehendi in Hindi and Urdu) has been practiced in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East for over 5000 years. Some documents date it to over 9,000 years old. Henna has a natural cooling effect, so desert dwellers have used it for centuries to regulate their body temperature. They crushed the dried leaves of the henna plant into a paste, which they soaked in their palms and soles for a cooling effect. As long as the henna stain remains on your skin, you can feel its cooling sensation all over your body. When this stain first disappeared, it left a pattern on the surface of the skin, giving rise to the idea of ​​creating a pattern for decorative purposes. Even mummies wore henna motifs in ancient Egypt, and Cleopatra herself is recorded using henna for decorative purposes.

Henna was a popular body accessory not only for the rich, but also for the poor who could not afford jewelry.


Weddings and Other Henna Traditions

Henna is traditionally used in Africa, Pakistan, India and the Middle East for holidays, henna art birthdays, weddings and other special occasions. The most popular tradition is the mehendi (henna) night, when the bride and her family, relatives and friends gather to celebrate their upcoming wedding. The night is filled with games, music and dance performances that may have been rehearsed months before the event by those closest to the bride. Brides, on the other hand, have extensive henna patterns on their limbs, reaching down to their elbows and sometimes their knees. Bridal patterns can take hours and are often created by multiple henna-her artists. As a rule, guests also receive small motifs (tattoos) on the back of their hands.

Modern brides prefer to get their henna done before their mehndi night so they can enjoy the celebration and still have a darker henna on their wedding day.

According to tradition, as long as the henna stain remains on the bride, she does not have to do any housework. It is said that the darker the dirt, the better the relationship between husband and wife, and the better the mother-in-law. So you can imagine why brides want their blemishes to be as dark and long-lasting as possible.


Temporary Henna Tattoos

For body decoration, the leaves of the henna plant are dried, ground into a fine powder and processed into a creamy paste using various techniques. When this paste is applied to the skin, only the top layer of skin is discolored. In its natural state, it colors the skin orange or brown. It looks dark green (or dark brown with some henna) when applied, but this green paste flakes off, leaving an orange stain. After 1-3 days of use, the dirt will turn reddish brown. The palms and soles of the feet have the thickest skin and contain the most keratin, so they are the darkest. Henna gets darker the farther it is from the hands and feet. The face is usually the area most prone to discoloration.

Henna works on all skin types and tones. Dark skin looks just as good as fair skin, but some people are more tolerant of pigments than others, so it may be noticeable on one skin and not as noticeable on another. Still, henna is a symbol of beauty, art, and happiness, and is meant for everyone.

Source: Silk n Stone



Indian Wedding Ceremonies: What You Need To Know

Indian Pre-Wedding Events


  1. Engagement Ceremony

The betrothal event is considered one of the most important pre-wedding ceremonies not only in Hindu weddings, but also in other religions, and is primarily an intimate event between the bride and groom’s close relatives and friends. This event usually takes place months before the wedding. At the ceremony, both fathers of the bride and groom guarantee the children’s assets and make a formal wedding announcement of the children to the invited guests.

  1. Mehendi Ceremony

The Mehendi ceremony involves applying henna to the hands and feet of the bride (and in some states to the groom as well). This beautiful event is usually held in the evening, surrounded by lots of dancing and music by family and friends. While the bride has to sit for hours to complete the mehendi art, many of the female guests complete the mehendi art with at least one hand. Singing traditional songs and playing traditional musical instruments, such as dholak, often complement this joyful celebration.

  1. Sangeet Ceremony

Sangeet is considered a female-centric event and is perhaps the most entertaining Hindu pre-wedding ceremony. Traditionally, the Sangeet ceremony should be part of the formal betrothal event, but these days it is held separately. Thus, the wedding fun at this celebration is extended to another day. The Sangeet ceremony was only a part of Hindu weddings in North India, but now this joyful event has its presence in South India as well. Please note that the ceremony planner will swear by it. So you can see that a special theme has been chosen for this occasion and a dance performance is prepared.

  1. Tilak/Sagan Ceremony

The tilak ceremony is considered the first step in strengthening the bond between the two families. This auspicious event takes place mainly at the groom’s residence, where the bride’s male family members rub kumkum or vermilion on their foreheads. There are many versions of the tilak ceremony in different parts of the state, but the one mentioned is frequently witnessed. Apart from that, music and dance are also important parts of this ceremony in many states.

  1. Haldi Ceremony

One of the most enjoyable events in Indian weddings is the Haldi ceremony. Variations of this auspicious event can be found in different parts of the country. In this ceremony, haldi her paste is applied to the bride and groom’s body before the wedding or in the morning. In some states of India, this ceremony is performed after the mehendi ceremony. The mixtures used in rituals are known by different names depending on the region, such as ubutan, manda and terban. The Haldi ceremony is directly related to beautifying the bride and groom’s big day. In addition, yellow is considered to be an auspicious color and is said to ward off evil spirits.

  1. Roka Ceremony

Roka is considered the first step of marriage. It is like a bride and groom formally announcing to each other that they are getting married.In this ceremony, both families gather for the first time and exchange sweets, gifts and dried fruits with each other. In some traditions, the puja is performed by a priest.


Indian Post-Wedding Events


  1. Vidaai

Vidaai is a moving event that marks the end of a wedding. It is an integral part of the wedding ceremony for the bride to walk out the door with tears in her eyes and throw five handfuls of rice on her head to reflect wealth and prosperity. As she drives away, the bride’s brothers and cousins ​​push the car so that the brothers can help her start a new life with her husband. It symbolizes helping. After the car starts, money is thrown in the street to cast off or ward off evil spirits. This post-wedding event goes by different names in different parts of the state, but it’s an important ceremony everywhere.

  1. Reception

This post-wedding ceremony is basically a way of introducing the bride to the groom’s community. There is no set ritual to follow at this event. In fact, the ceremony is full of dance, music and a big feast.

  1. Blessing Ceremony

Commonly called the Aashirvaad ceremony, this highly emotional event is celebrated to ask for blessings from elderly family members and other well-wishers. During this ceremony, the bride’s family and relatives and friends visit the groom’s mansion and present the newlywed couple with candies and fruits along with gold/silver/diamond jewellery, while the couple touches their feet. In some regions, the Asirwad ceremony takes place a few days before the wedding celebration, signifying the confirmation of the bride and groom’s new relationship. The doors of the bride and groom’s mansion are decorated with rows of mango leaves that are said to last for a year after the wedding. The groom’s family gives the bride a sari, and in return the bride’s parents give various grooms rings and watches.

  1. Dwar Rokai Ceremony

This joyous ceremony is mostly seen at North Indian weddings. When the newlyweds arrive at the groom’s residence and confront the couple by not allowing his sisters to enter the house, the Dwar Rokai ceremony is performed. Or you will be asked to present a valuable gift. Often this is a joyous ceremony with very friendly discussions between brothers and sisters.

  1. Griha Pravesh Ceremony

The Dwar Rokai ceremony is followed by the Griha Pravesh ceremony. New brides are welcomed in the traditional Indian way during this important ceremony. She is first asked to enter the house by sliding a glass/kalash with rice under the toe of her right foot. In some places in India, the bride is asked to say her husband’s name at the entrance before entering the house.

  1. Mooh Dikhai Ceremony

Mooh Dikhai is an important post-marriage ceremony in Hinduism. It is basically held to introduce the bride to the groom’s family. A woman reveals her bride’s face and showers her with gifts, especially her mother-in-law, who presents her bride with gifts as a sign of her welcome.

  1. Pag Phera Ceremony

Pag Phera is also observed as an important Hindu post-marriage ritual. In this ceremony, the bride is taken from her in-laws home by her brothers, where she stays for almost three days. When the ceremony is over, her groom comes to her house, asks her parents for their blessings, and takes her bride home. The bride’s family offers gifts to her daughter and son-in-law. The girls are believed to be the form of Goddess Lakshmi, so brides go home to ensure the prosperity of their parents.



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