Mehndi is a traditional yet exciting pre-wedding ceremony. In Indian weddings, a lot of emphasis is given on customs and rituals and the same is reflected in the Mehndi ceremony before marriage. Mehendi ceremony has become such an integral part of the wedding ceremony that it cannot be imagined without it.
Mehndi is one of the sixteen adornments of the bride and her beauty is incomplete without it. The Mehndi ceremony usually takes place just before marriage. According to the ritual, the bride does not step out of the house after this ceremony. Mehndi ceremony is essentially organized by the family of the bride and is usually a private affair which takes place in the presence of friends, relatives and family members. However, the scale of the ceremony depends upon individual choice.
Mehndi is one of the oldest forms of body art conceived by man. The Hindi and Arabic word Mehendi is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘mendhika’ which referred to the henna plant itself. Reference to uses of henna can be traced back to the Bronze ages. In the bible, henna is referred to a Camphire. In and around the Indian subcontinent, henna has been used as a cosmetic even before Vedic ages. India is considered as the source from where the body art traditions with henna spread to different parts of the world like Egypt, Asia Minor and the Middle East. References of henna during the mummification process of Pharaohs as well as anecdotes of the famous queen Cleopatra using henna to paint her body are well-known in history. Prophet Muhammad is known to use henna paste to color his graying beard and was known to advocate use of henna to others as well. Use of henna is considered immensely auspicious in many traditions around the world, especially within Hindus, who would consider Mehndi part of the customary 16 adornments or Solah Shringaar.