There have been many songs on ‘mehndi ki raat’ in blockbuster Hindi movies. What is it about the mehndi ceremony in an Indian wedding that has given it such prime importance? Oodles of fun and laughter are guaranteed in a mehndi ceremony, no doubt. But what is the significance of the mehndi ceremony? throws light on the same.

What is the mehndi ceremony?
One of the most important pre-wedding ceremonies in Hindu, Muslim and Sikh weddings, the mehndi ceremony refers to the applying of mehndi (henna) on the bride’s hands and feet. To ring in the festivities, female family members, relatives and friends of the bride also decorate their hands. In some communities, mehndi is also applied on the groom’s hands. Generally, the mehndi ceremony is held along with the sangeet ceremony to double the celebrations.

Applying mehndi on bride's hands

Common beliefs
The most common belief related to mehndi is its colour. It is believed that darker the colour of the mehndi, the more the bride will be loved by her husband and in-laws. Another belief is that the longer the mehndi stays, the more she is adored by her mother-in-law. The designs generally include the name of the groom, which is to be found by the groom before the wedding night.

Mehndi ceremony at Indian weddings

Amidst all the fun beliefs, the actual significance is often lost. Other than adding a dash of colour to the hands and feet, the henna leaves have immense medicinal and healing powers. Weddings, undeniably a period of stress and tension, create a lot of stress. Applying of mehndi on the hands and feet helps in keeping the nerve-endings cool, which in turn keeps the stress at bay. Mehndi also acts as an antiseptic agent; thus, keeping the bride free from viral diseases, cuts and bruises around the wedding. Application of mehndi also improves blood circulation. Thus, the practice of applying mehndi was to keep the bride-to-be hale and hearty.

Indian bride with hennaed hands

During weddings, the mehndi paste is further enhanced with the use of eucalyptus oil, clove oil and lemon juice. These oils not only infuse an aroma in the paste but also increase the healing powers. In addition to all these health benefits, the smell of the mehndi acts as a powerful aphrodisiac. Hence, its significance during weddings and thereafter!

Mehndi designs