Mehendi is said to be an ancient Indian body art. It is used in creating elaborate ethnic or contemporary designs and exotic patterns on various parts of the body. Traditionally Mehendi was applied on the hands and feet of Indian bride and women preparing for special festive ceremonies. Today men are finding it a nice alternative to permanent tattoos. But now both men and women enjoy the temporary tattoo.
The art of applying henna in this manner is called Mehendi. In India, it is used at celebrations like Special Wedding Occasions. No Indian Wedding is ever complete without the Mehendi. Whichever part of the country the bride may be from, her hands are adorned with the lovely red hue of the Mehendi. The patterns of Mehendi are very intricate and basically applied in brides hands. However, traditions in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sudan sometimes expect bridegrooms to be painted as well. It is considered among the most auspicious `ornaments` of a married woman.
Mehendi is not just a way of artistic expression. A Hindu wedding includes a number of religious rites before and during the nuptials, and it plays a vital role in it. It is associated to lots of things - a good dark design is a sign of good luck for the marital couple. It is common for the names of the bride and groom to be hidden in the design. A day before her wedding, the girl and her female folks gather for the Mehendi ritual which is a traditional ceremony.
The Mehendi paste is made by powdering dried leaves and mixing it with water. The paste is then squeezed through the tip of a cone to draw patterns on the skin. The `designs` are then allowed to dry for 3-4 hours until it becomes hard and crusted, during which the bride must sit still. The varied use of Mehendi by the rich and royal from very early times has made it popular with the masses. Mehendi is immensely popular in west too due to pop stars like Madonna.