So you want to know more about the role of henna in Indian wedding tradition? Let us tell you!
Henna also known as Hena, Mehndi or Mhindi is a vital element in Indian wedding ceremonies. Here it is important to mention that either henna or jagua (blue/ black stain) is also used by themselves or together. So, if instead of the usual brownish or reddish stain you see a black or dark blue stain you know it is jagua, which has been making its way through the Indian wedding tradition in the past decades.
The henna or jagua paste is applied (mostly) to the hand and feet of the bride, friends of the bride and groom, family members and even the groom. It encompasses an entire pre-wedding event and is carried in a celebratory spirit, with music, food and dancing. All believed to bring good luck to the couple as well as lots of love!
The symbols, motifs and designs are full of significance. For example, Did you know that the peacock, besides its obvious beauty, is also a sign of prosperity and good fortune? Next time you see it in a bridal Henna design you know why. What about paisleys? Did you know it is a symbol of fertility, life and eternity? and for example, that the lotus, that is so beautiful and we see so persistently in bridal and non-bridal designs, represents the innocence and purity of the bride? Many times the artists smartly and skillfully embed the face or/ and name of the couple as a sign of unity and love.
Everything about bridal art Henna or jagua is just fascinating not to mention that the stain will last a couple of weeks as a reminder of this beautiful moment that is meant to be part of a long, happy marriage.
The designs and motifs will change in other cultures like the Moroccan or Arabic as each culture has its own traditions and beliefs and let’s not forget the native cultures! Yes, that is where Jagua 1st started being used as a body art tool. In South American native cultures the motifs are closely related to religion and a lot of geometrics like circles and straight lines are commonly used.
By now you get the idea that henna body art is far from just being a "pretty wedding decoration". It entails heritage, family, culture and community!
Thanks to all the henna artists that are part of this beautiful moment.
Hope you enjoy this writing about this very beautiful body art tradition.