Why Mehndi Is Not The Same As Tattoo?
Mehndi is an art of painting of henna patterns over the body, a history of which is spanning many centuries. The exact place of origin of mehndi is unknown, because for centuries the art of henna painting traveled to different countries and continents, taking different forms in accordance with the traditions and culture of different nations.
Some people believe that mehndi originated in India, others argue that mehndi came to India only in the 12th century. However, the most plausible version seems that the art of henna painting originated in ancient Egypt. There, henna was used as a cosmetic for coloring the palms and feet of the Pharaohs during mummification. The Egyptians believed that the body drawings provide them unimpeded entry into the underworld. They used henna painting to please the gods that can give the Pharaohs a pleasant journey.
Henna, which is used for mehndi, is received from the leaves of the cinchona tree (in Latin it is called Lawsonia Inermis). It grows in Sudan, Egypt, India, most North African countries, the Middle East and other areas with hot and dry climate.
Cinchona leaves are harvested, dried and then crushed. The art of mehndi is considered to be quite difficult because the artist must possess many skills to quickly and beautifully draw intricate pattern. Henna solution for the application can be bought in any market in India, but the real masters make a solution themselves. After all, it is not easy to make the henna solution so that the drawing was held bright and saturated for as long as possible. Usually, the solution contains henna, strong tea, black coffee, eucalyptus oil, and lemon juice.
Mehndi is not a tattoo, because drawing is held on the body only a certain time, and not very long (no more than four weeks). This is a great alternative for those who are afraid of pain or want a temporal tattoo.
Traditionally mehndi can be accomplished in one of four styles. A style that is applied in the Middle East mainly includes floral motifs that remind Arabian embroidery and painting, and, as a rule, does not have a particular scheme of application. The style used by the North African artists includes geometric shapes with floral motifs and strictly conforms to the shape of the hands or feet. Indian and Pakistani drawings cover not only the hands and feet, but have a continuation, which creates the illusion of gloves or stockings. The patterns consist mainly of lines, ornaments and drop-shaped drawings. In Indonesia and South Asia, there are mixed styles. They have something from the Middle East and Indian patterns simultaneously.
All of these styles are very popular. Certainly, mehndi is not complete without mixing different patterns, shapes, and principles. Here, the main thing is like the pattern. Experiment in mehndi will never lead to poor results, especially because the true master can draw the most refined and intricate pattern.
In India, mehndi is used in almost for all the celebrations and festivals; it is a part of many religious ceremonies. No wedding in India is complete without the mehndi ceremony. On the eve of the celebration, all the females go to a party and paint bride’s the hands and feet. It is believed that the richer and more intricate the patterns, the happier life a new family will have.
In today’s world, mehndi is also popular at various receptions, hen parties, weddings, and even just in everyday life. In its new incarnation, mehndi is elevated to the status of bodyart, the art of decorating the body, and a kind fashion accessory for young people.