The term “Mehendi” is the Indian word for Henna, and it is also the term used to describe the art of applying Henna. Mehendi is used to create temporary tattoos mainly to the hands and feet of a woman. It is also used for dying hair and to color nails. Traditionally it was used for its medicinal qualities. Henna is made from a herb which is known by the same name. The Henna plant is like the tea plant. The leaves are dried and ground into a fine powder. This powder is mixed with water, eucalyptus oil, tea, coffee, and lime and then applied on the body. The Egyptian Queen Cleopatra is supposed to have used henna to color her hair. Today many popular Hollywood stars like Madonna and Demy More use it.
Traditionally in India Mehendi is applied to a woman’s hands and feet. But on very auspicious occasions men apply Henna as well. During an Indian wedding both the bride and bridegroom apply Henna.

Henna symbolizes fertility. It is also a symbol of love between husband and wife. The bride’s intricate Mehendi pattern normally has the name of the groom interwoven into it. The groom is expected to find his name in the pattern. If he cannot do so, it is said that, the bride will control the marriage. Its use became popular in India because of its cooling effect in the hot Indian summers.

Today Henna is used to make tattoos on different parts of the body whether it is the arm, the wrist or around the navel. Henna is being used for body art as well. In this form Mehendi has become popular in the west. No doubt the most popular use of Henna is to dye hair. As it is a natural dye and the color is beautiful and gives the hair lustrous look. Henna has to be mixed in the right proportion with the right ingredients to get the desired color and effect. There are different ways, designs and patterns that can be used to draw intricately on a woman’s hand. If the color of Mehendi is to last for a long time one has to take proper care of it.
Mehendi is the application of Henna as a temporary form of skin decoration in the Indian Subcontinent, as well as by expatriate communities from these areas. Mehendi decorations became fashionable in the West in the late 1990s, where they are sometimes called Henna tattoos. Henna is typically applied during special occasions like weddings, baby showers , Party and festivals like Diwali, and Eid. In some Hindu festivals every woman tries to have Henna done on her hands and feet. It is usually drawn on the palms and feet. Henna was originally used as a form of decoration.

Mehendi: It’s safe and painless since it does not require the skin to be pierced. It’s completely natural and non-toxic. It’s fun, exotic, beautiful, and as simple or complicated as you want it to be. It can last for a couple of days or as long as a month. It’s a 5000 year old tradition and a modern craze. It was used by our grandmothers and their grandmothers and their grandmothers … but our daughters and granddaughters also think it’s “cool”. It goes by the name of Mehendi, and it’s the ancient Indian art of adorning the hands and feet with intricate designs and patterns, using a paste made from the finely ground leaves of the Henna plant.

The term refers to the powder and paste, the design on the skin, as well as the party or ceremony. It originated in Egypt and in Middle Eastern countries during ancient times and it slowly spread to India and other hot climates like Malaysia, Persia, Syria, Morocco, Sudan and North Africa.

How it works: The leaves, flowers, and twigs of the Henna plant are ground into a fine powder, then mixed with water. This paste is traced in a design on the desired body part in much the same way as lettering is traced on a cake with an icing cone. A solution of lemon juice and sugar is applied to the drying mehndi to “set it” and bring out its lustrous texture. The dried paste is scraped off, leaving behind a reddish-brown stain or temporary tattoo. The color and longevity of this tattoo will depend on how long you leave the paste on the skin (the longer you leave the paste on the darker the stain). For best results (the tattoo lasts for as long as three weeks), let the Mehendi dry for 7 to 10 hours.

Unisex craze: In recent times, Mehendi has enjoyed both a revival and a renewal. Actress Demi Moore was among the first celebrities to be seen wearing mehndi. Madonna created quite a stir at the MTV awards function, when she turned up with Mehendi all over her body. The adoption of Mehendi magic by Western models, musicians, and movie stars (including Naomi Campbell and Drew Barrymore) has led to Mehendi tattoos becoming a white-hot fashion trend. Now it is not just hands and feet that are adorned, but also the arms, neck, back and navel. The magic is no longer confined to just women – men sport Mehendi tattoos too. The traditional reddish-brown color has been enhanced by a variety of shades (contrasts of black, red and maroon) and glitters (highlights of gold, silver or copper). Best of all, no longer is Mehndi reserved for occasions like weddings – it’s worn to a Valentine’s Day bash, a formal party or even an evening at the disco!