Shades of Happiness… Mehendi for Every Indian Girl

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Mehendi leaves is done to tint and decorate the palms of a bride for her marriage. The Vedas have clearly mentioned the use of both, where the mehndi word is said to have derived from the Sanskrit word Mendhika. The Vedas tell us that Mehndi and turmeric paste was used to paint such a design which was intended to be a symbolic representation of the universe, where the sun was the center of the universe and the rest of the planets revolved around it. This painting on the hand was also done with the idea of representing the awakening of the inner light of a human being. This was the simplest design that was found back then, and it happens to be the simplest design till date in the Hindu wedding ceremonies.

With time, the Indian tradition also changed and soon there were many variations in mehndi designs. Women not only use Mehndi for weddings but other religious events and traditional ceremonies also. Festivals like karva chauth, bhai dooj, rakhi, teej, vat Poornima and Diwali are some of the important Hindu occasions to adorn the hands and feet with the colors of mehndi. The Mehendi designs are usually drawn on the palms, back of the hand and on the feet of the women folk, where the darker shade of the Mehendi gives a beautiful contrast to the lighter shades of the palms. Mehendi is even used to paint the palms and feet of the Indian men, for religious purposes. The groom has it painted on his hands for his marriage, and a brother gets it painted on his hands on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

Just like Mehendi, the evident use of Alta, which is a red dye, used by women to adorn their hands and feet, can be found in the Hindu Upanishads. The red Alta, since long has been used as one of the elements of the 16 bridal adornments or the Solah Shringar. The red of the Alta was symbolic of life, fertility, and prosperity. Alta was traditionally made from the juice of betel leaves. At times, kumkum (powder) was also used to get the liquid form to paint the hands and feet red.


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