Cultural Traditions: The Mehndi Ceremony
The beauty and meaning of the Indian and Hindu Mehndi Ceremony
Weddings as we know them today are based in tradition spanning multiple generations and cultures. Each of us comes from a distinctive background and incorporating the traditions shared by our family and ancestors can add an emotional touch to your nuptials.
A beautiful tradition in India and other Hindu cultures is the Mehndi Ceremony. This ceremony is one of the many rituals to take place before the actual wedding ceremony. Mehndi, or henna as it is known in Western culture, is the powder from the mehndi plants that is mixed with water to create a paste-like substance. During the ceremony, the bride has her palms, wrists, arms, legs and feet adorned in the mehndi art. This is considered to add beauty to the bride on her wedding day and her bridal look is incomplete without it. Mehndi is also used to symbolize the strength in the union of the bride and groom. The belief is that the deeper the color of the mehndi, the happier their union will be.
The scale of the ceremony depends on the couple and the family. Held traditionally in the home of the bride’s family, the Mehndi Ceremony is a private affair shared only by relatives and close friends of the couple.
Some Mehndi Ceremonies are accompanied by song and dance performed by the bride’s family and friends. Traditionally, it was the final celebration the bride had with her closest friends and family before marrying into a new family. Today, this practice is an added celebration to the ceremonies and parties connected with the wedding, much like that of a bridal shower or bachelorette party.
Celebrations like the Mehndi Ceremony are a way for couples to incorporate their religion and beliefs and those of their family. Incorporating traditions like this ceremony is a beautiful way to unite your life with that of your cultural background.
This post originally ran in 2018.