Henna/ Mehandi Art Form

Henna is a plant that grows in the hot climates of Asia. Originally it was used to make a paste which the people of this area applied on the soles of their feet, and on palms of their hands for a cooling effect. This cooling effect would last for as long as the paste was on. However, as the paste dried up, it left patterns in the skin which could last anywhere up to 3 weeks. These patterns triggered off ideas in minds of people to come up with attractive tattoo designs and decorations to start a tradition of mehandi art form.

So what is henna? It is plant which contains a pigment which when combined with proteins it causes staining. The paste is made from dried, powdered leaves of the henna plant and is well known for its healing properties as well as being a body adornment.

The tradition of painting designs and figures on parts of the body is said to have originated in India thousands of years ago. Known as Henna, Mehandi, or tattoo, this fashion trend is an integral part of India's cultural celebrations. Indian henna designs are ceremonial traditions which the women of south Asian and some Arabian cultures use to beautify and adorn themselves for special occasions. The traditional popular art form is a ritual that combines tradition with ceremonies which are festive in nature. Depending on culture these rituals and celebrations are expressed in many different ways in India. Many cultures have expanded the ceremonial use for these decorative designs. They include weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, coming of age ceremonies, and a plethora of other festivals. The idea behind this tradition is expressed through an expectation of happiness for those in the ceremonies. This traditional and cultural influence of henna designs has become quite popular to women of the Western world as well.

These temporary yet sublime tattoos can be seen adorning women's hands, arms, and feet, thus exalting her beauty and sexiness. This tradition is especially popular for wedding ceremonies as brides adorn their bodies with the latest designs. During weddings or religious ceremonies you can see women with all kinds of decorative designs.

Many of the traditional wedding ceremonies enjoy applying the designs a day before exchange of vows. The application can take several hours to apply. By putting the paste on the night before wedding, women feel that this ritual allows them to become a part of the festivities even before actual celebration begins. The mehandi ceremony is a pre wedding ritual that usually occurs on the eve of the wedding where a professional henna artist of a family member applies mehandi to the bride's feet and hands.

There are certain superstitions around the henna designs, one of them being that while the henna stain still appears on the bride she does not have to do any of the housework. Most brides want to get as dark a stain as possible because this means that they will have a much happier marriage coupled with a good and loving mother-in-law! Needless to say darker stains are much sought after. These delicate designs usually cover feet, hands, forearms and shins and are an extremely intricate and elaborate form of body decoration. They usually are formed by thin lines, teardrops and stunning paisley patterns just to name a few, and their patterns all have some form of symbolism. For example a diamond means enlightenment, crescent moon means a new-born baby and a peacock symbolizes love, desire and passion.

For people who are considering getting a henna tattoo, the choices of patterns are astounding and if you just do a search on the internet, you will get thousands of results. Take some time to catch a glimpse of the pictures and designs, and witness some designs which are truly unbelievable in their beauty and intricacy. Mehandi is a great way of decorating yourself for any special occasion, birthdays, Valentine's Day or any other occasion when you want to feel special as well as look stunning. These designs will last for up to four weeks and an added bonus to these beautiful designs is their quality as a sunblock, so if you are out in the sun all day long, you know that your skin is protected. This is a fun way to experiment with body art and because you know that there will be no pain or permanent staining you can be as daring as you want.

The Indian henna designs are fashion trends that will never end owing to the diverse Indian cultures and their peculiarity in use of mehandi as a form of ceremonial art. Even though this is an Indian tradition, it is lately become more popular throughout the world and can quite often be seen on celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Liv Tyler and Madonna, just to name a few. Henna is Indeed a rage today in the fashion circuits on global map.