Updated date:

Mehandi Art (Henna) and It’s Significance : An Indian Tradition

Chitrangada loves the richness of Indian art, culture and traditions. As a writer, she wants to spread information about Indian culture.

Mehandi applied on palms, in just 15 minutes

Mehandi applied on palms, in just 15 minutes

Mehandi applied on back side of palms

Mehandi applied on back side of palms

Mehandi Art—To Decorate Palms And Feet

  • Mehandi also known as Henna, is a herb and is used to decorate and adorn hands and legs in India.
  • After application and drying, it leaves a bright orange colour, like the Sunshine, which is temporary. This colour stays for one to two weeks, depending upon the quality of Henna.
  • It is part of Indian culture and tradition and is considered auspicious to apply it on Weddings, festivals, such as Teej, Karwa Chauth and special occasions. But it has become so popular that now it is applied any day.
  • In earlier days, the leaves of Mehandi or Henna were plucked and ground into a paste. Then it was applied on palms in beautiful designs.
  • But now it has become a much bigger affair. Leaves are dried, packaged and sent to bigger cities. They are available in packets or cones and are easy to apply.
  • Just an artistic hand and you can create innumerable designs, each one better than the other.
  • You can find Mehandi application experts almost in every market and you should see their expertise in applying Mehandi, to believe it.
  • Added attraction is that it is affordable and quick.
  • Shravana month or the Rainy season ( July-August), is particularly considered auspicious for applying Mehandi and all married women and girls apply it very enthusiastically.

Interesting facts about Mehandi/ Henna

  • Mehandi, Henna (Lawsonia inermis) is also known as hina.
  • The Henna tree is a flowering plant.
  • The English name "henna" comes from the Arabic word, ḥinna.
  • The name henna also refers to the dye prepared from the plant and the art of temporary body art based on those dyes.
  • Mehandi or Henna has been used since ancient times to dye skin, hair and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool and leather.
  • Henna was used for cosmetic purposes primarily in Ancient India. It was also found to be used in the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia, Carthage and other parts of North Africa, and the Horn of Africa.
  • Bridal henna nights are an important custom among many traditional families.
  • Indians apply Henna on their hands and feet on festivals and weddings and any auspicious occasions.
  • Mehandi or Henna will leave an orange colour only when wet grounded and not when it is a green shrub.

Reference: Google

How to apply Mehandi on the palms?

1. Mehandi or Henna powder is available in markets at any general store or cosmetics shop.

It is available in 100 gms. to 500 gms. packets.

Mehandi paste is also available in cones, which is already wet and soaked in water, ready to apply.

2. If you buy dry powder, you should soak it in water for at least four to five hours, before application.

3. The water quantity should be such that the paste resembles a cake batter.

4. You can fill the Henna paste in cones, just as you do for fine thin icing on the cake.

5. You can then apply Mehandi oil on your palms, before making beautiful designs on your palms. If you do not find Mehandi oil, just apply olive oil.

5. In India, drawing of the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, Peacock, Flowers, Leaves, Conch shell and others are considered auspicious.

You can draw anything beautiful with your imagination.

6. For professionals, it does not take much time to apply Mehandi designs.

Would you believe, that the application in both the palms in the above picture just took 15 minutes!

7. After application, you have to let it dry, which takes more than two hours. The longer you leave the better the results.

8. It is better not to apply water to remove the dried Henna, at least for the day. So it is advisable to finish all your hand work, before application.

9.You can even apply lemon juice on your palm for a deeper colour.

10. Mehandi leaves a bright orange colour, much like the rising Sun.


The Mehandi design looks something like this after it is taken off after few hours

The Mehandi design looks something like this after it is taken off after few hours

Why To Apply Mehandi? Significance of Mehandi application

  • The application of Mehandi is an ancient tradition. It is a symbolic representation of the Inner and the Outer Sun. The main idea is to awaken the inner light.
  • The Sun is the ultimate source of energy to the mankind. It is worshipped as a Vedic practice. Application of Henna is in fact symbolic, to awakening of the inner consciousness.
  • There is a special ceremony before weddings, called Mehandi, in India.
  • All relatives and friends are invited in this auspicious ceremony, and Mehandi is applied to every women. Professionals are hired to apply Mehandi.
  • There is an extravaganza with folk songs, dances and delicious food. Everyone blesses the Bride to be.
  • The practice of application of Mehandi has become very popular, and has spread in many other Asian countries as well.

Mehandi application, source: You tube

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Chitrangada Sharan

Comments

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on February 10, 2017:

Thanks MarleneB for reading and appreciating the hub about henna traditions of India!

Henna is very good for hair health and is a natural hair conditioner. Good that you apply it.

Yes Mehandi art has great traditional significance in India and some other Asian countries.

Many thanks for your kind words!

Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 10, 2017:

I never knew the significance of Mehandi Henna Art. It is such a beautiful tradition. I started using henna to cover the gray in my hair. It is interesting how the henna only colors the gray and not the other hair strands, so my hair is highlighted with the red henna color. Excellent article. I enjoyed it a lot.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 22, 2017:

Thank you Nithya for your appreciation of the hub!

Yes Mehandi is a rich cultural tradition of India. My daughter just loves applying Mehandi any time.

Have a blessed day!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 22, 2017:

A great hub about Mehendi. I love Mehendi; it is the fun part of any marriage ceremony. The designs are so beautiful, and I love to see the color the next day after washing off the dry Mehendi powder.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on March 27, 2015:

Thank you Audrey Hunt, for reading and commenting!

Mehandi art is an integral part of Indian culture.

I am glad you liked this hub and this art form. Thanks for sharing as well.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on March 27, 2015:

Thank you Jodah, for your appreciation of this hub and this art form!

I am sure your wife would love it whenever she gets an opportunity to get Mehandi/ Henna art applied.

Many thanks for reading and commenting!

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on March 26, 2015:

This artwork is amazing! What patience and talent this must take. I will share this! Thank you.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on March 26, 2015:

Mehandi/Henna tattooing is a wonderful temporary art form Chitrangada. My wife has always wanted it done...maybe one day she will get the opportunity. Beautifu hub. Thanks for sharing.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on December 28, 2013:

Tahanks suzettenaples, for reading this hub and your insightful comments!

I am glad you found the information interesting. In fact the Henna fades much faster, if the hands are washed frequently. In some cases it does not last more than a weeK.

Thanks again for your support!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on December 28, 2013:

Thanks Sunshine625, for your visit and words of appreciation!

I am glad you liked this hub!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on December 28, 2013:

Thanks Millionaire Tips, for reading this hub and appreciating!

Yes, nowadays, everyone uses Mehandi cones to apply it, even professionals. Because it is much more convenient and non messy.

Thanks again for your support!

suzettenaples on December 27, 2013:

I love henna drawings on hands and legs. I think it is a creative and beautiful part of your culture. When my students were in Spain some of them got henna paintings and they were beautiful. Their parents were relieved to find out they would fade in six weeks. LOL. Thanks for an interesting and informative hub.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on December 27, 2013:

Beautiful artwork!! That takes patience and talent. Thank you for sharing! :)

Shasta Matova from USA on December 27, 2013:

So beautiful. I had heard of the dry powder and paste, but was so happy to find out that it also came in tubes. So much neater and convenient.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on December 27, 2013:

Hi Daisy!

Thanks for reading this hub and your words of appreciation! I am glad to know that you admire this Art form. The Mehandi designs indeed look difficult to make but its amazing to see how easily the experts make it that too within no time.

Thanks for your support and share!

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on December 26, 2013:

Chitrangada,

Thanks for publishing this article. I especially enjoy reading Hubs from which I learn something new.

I have admired the art of Mehandi, but didn't know very much about it. The intricate design are stunningly beautiful.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 18, 2013:

Hi AliciaC!

Thanks for reading the hub and your words of appreciation!

Practice makes a person perfect and this applies to this art too. It is amazing how the professionals make the designs beautifully within no time and they do not even refer to any design book. They are so creative.

Thanks again!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 17, 2013:

The Mehandi designs in your photos are beautiful! I teach in a school that has many Indo-Canadian students. They use henna during special events and sometimes decorate my hands on the special celebration days that we have at school. The designs that they create are lovely, but they aren't as intricate and attractive as the ones in your pictures. Thank you for sharing the information about Mehandi.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 06, 2013:

Thanks jtrader, for your visit and appreciation! I am glad you liked it.

jtrader on September 05, 2013:

I have always liked these designs. Thanks for sharing more about Mehandi.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 27, 2013:

Thanks thelyricwriter, for such an insightful comment!

I am glad to know that this hub was interesting for you.

Every culture has a history behind it and if you get familiar with the culture and tradition of a country, it is easy to understand its history.

The Sun, is the ultimate source of energy to all living beings, whether animals, plants or humans, directly or indirectly and thus it has a spiritual and religious significance.

Thanks for voting up and sharing!

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on August 26, 2013:

Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared on FB. I've never heard of Mehandi art, but I'm interested. I write about symbolism, tribal art, tattoos, ect. I always enjoy learning about our history, world history that is. Very informative article and it was interesting learning about Mehandi art. I know many cultures highly valued the sun, which is an overall symbol of "life" to many. Well done.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 19, 2013:

Thanks Devika, for reading and giving your positive comments!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 19, 2013:

Interesting and so creative about Mehandi (Henna) Art And Designs : A Cultural Tradition In India. A good thought to try it.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 17, 2013:

Hi Dim Flaxenwick!

So nice to see you here! Thanks for your appreciation and I am pleased to know that you visited India and even had Mehandi on your hands.

Thanks and have a good day!

Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on August 17, 2013:

Wonderful, fully explained hub on this subject.

On a visit to India l did have this done on the back of my hand and part way up my arm. It was beautiful., just like your hub.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 17, 2013:

Thanks Nell, for visiting this hub and your appreciative comments! Pleased to know that you like this art form!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 17, 2013:

Thanks kbdare, for stopping by and your words of appreciation!

I am glad you liked the hub.

Nell Rose from England on August 16, 2013:

I love this art form, I have a friend who always shows me her hand designs, I love them!

Kbdare from Western US. on August 16, 2013:

Interesting Hub! The patterns are so detailed and beautiful!!

Thanks for sharing!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 16, 2013:

Thanks CharronsChatter, for your visit and lovely comments! So nice to see you once again!

I am pleased to know that you liked this hub and this practice.

Thank you so much for your support, votes and share!

Have a good day!

Karen Robiscoe from California on August 16, 2013:

I liked E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G about this post, honey. From the awesome and unique art, to your explanations, to your polls. This is a very cool practice--and rocks it over regular tattoos. I voted everything upUP UP and shared!! I have henna-ed my fb wall...:) Have the very best day. :)

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 16, 2013:

Thanks Rajan, for stopping by and commenting!

Thanks for voting up and sharing as well.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 16, 2013:

Interesting info. Voted up and shared.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 15, 2013:

Thanks Vinaya, for visiting this hub and commenting!

Yes, I have written above that Henna is popular in other Asian nations as well. I am sure it must be popular in Nepal too. Good to know that there is a Henna day in Nepal as well. There are many similarities in both cultures, I know.

Mehandi has reference in earliest Hindu Vedic Ritual books and that explains it.

About Arabic tradition, I don' t have much idea.

Thanks again !

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on August 15, 2013:

Henna is also popular in Nepal, we even have a henna day. However, I have read somewhere Henna is Arabic tradition.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 15, 2013:

Thanks chef-de-jour, for reading the hub and your appreciative comments! It's a pleasure to see you here.

I humbly agree with your views about India.

I know today' s kids are crazy about tattoo application, mine included. The difference between tattoo and Mehandi is that the later is temporary and stays for a week or so. There is no pain also, just a cooling effect, after application.

Thank you for your lovely comments!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 15, 2013:

Thanks Bobbi Purvis, for reading the hub and appreciating!

I am glad you liked this part of Indian culture.

Thanks again and have a good day!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 15, 2013:

Hi Suzanne!

So glad to see you as always. Thanks for your vote, support, pin and share!

I am pleased to know that you love this art and culture of India. This is a nice gesture on your part, if you want to apply it on your wedding day. My heartfelt wishes to you for the same.

The hands in the picture is of my lovely young daughter.

Thank you so much for your lovely comments!

Andrew Spacey from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on August 15, 2013:

Interesting the way you've compiled this hub. Food for thought.

The patterns are beautiful in themselves and it's a great tradition.

India is a country of wild and exotic extremes. Fascinating. Votes for this hub!

Personally I don't go for any body art in real life yet i love drama and make up for actors and performers!! I'm confused. My son has tattoos like many young people these days but I just don't get it at all!!

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on August 15, 2013:

Hi,

This beautiful art work . I enjoyed this learning hub as I did not know about putting pictures on one's hands.

Thanks for the information.

Bobbi Purvis

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on August 15, 2013:

Hi Chitrangada,

I am a big fan of this art and would love to have it done regularly. I have always said I would have it done for my wedding as I love that tradition in your culture. My favorites are on the back of the hands and the feet, it looks so pretty and the artwork so intricate it appeals to the artist in me!

Are those your hands in the pictures? Amazing if they are, love the back and sides of palms pic!

Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, shared and pinned!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 14, 2013:

Thanks purnasrinivas, for visiting this hub and your appreciative comments!

I am glad you liked my effort!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 14, 2013:

Thanks Shampa sadhya, for stopping by and commenting!

I am glad you liked it--thanks for voting up!

purnasrinivas from Bangalore on August 14, 2013:

Nice Hub. Mehendi is a part of our culture and you have nicely portrayed it.

Shampa Sadhya from NEW DELHI, INDIA on August 14, 2013:

Voted up and beautiful!

A nice article with beautiful images.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 14, 2013:

Thanks Lavender Jade, for your visit and comments!

I am glad you liked it.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 14, 2013:

Thanks purl3agony, for stopping by and your appreciative comments!

Thanks for voting up and pinning!

Lavender Jade from Derbyshire on August 14, 2013:

Beautiful art and design, really lovely. Lovely to read too.

Donna Herron from USA on August 14, 2013:

I think this is a beautiful art form and tradition. The designs are so interesting. Thanks for sharing this informative hub. Voted up and pinned!!