With the wedding season fervor at its pinnacle, we love participating with various ceremonies. Ethnic clothes and jewelry are fished out from forgotten corners of our wardrobes or we indulge in some delightful shopping. One of the most fun and coveted ceremony during Indian weddings – primarily Hindu, Sikh and Muslim communities is “Mehendi” or “Henna” ceremony. In this ritual, the bride’s and her female friends/family members hand and feet are adorned with henna patterns. Also, dholak beats and lots of dancing follow this delightful ceremony.
Mehendi or Henna has a lot of cultural significance in Indian traditions. Also, it is applied during various occasions, weddings and more. Women also use it to apply on hair for its nourishing benefits. Did you know, Mehendi has a lot of significance and uses across various cultures?
Here are 10 Interesting Facts About Henna You Didn’t Know:
According to research, the word Henna has its origin in the Arabic word Al-Henna.
The use of Heena originated in ancient Egypt around 5000 years ago. Although, its exact history in India is a little unclear. According to some research, Heena was introduced to India by Mughals around 12th century AD. Others claim that, Heena was used for its medicinal purposes even before Mughal invasion around 4th or 5th century.
Cleopatra used Henna to amplify her beauty and during ancient times. And fingernails of mummies were painted with henna for a good afterlife. In addition, henna designs featured in many ancient rituals.
During Hindu weddings, when applied on a bride’s hands & feet, symbolizes beauty and joy. Whereas often Moroccans paint doors with henna to usher prosperity and chase away evil. Heena art is extremely popular in India.
The bark and seeds of the plant are used in Unani medicine. The oil can be used to cure skin disorders, headaches, baldness, prickly heat and more.
In rural North Africa, twigs from the plant are used as toothpicks and to keep teeth and gums healthy.
Heena has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is often applied to form a protective layer on skin and around the tender fingernail area. Besides, if you are looking at knowing how long does heena last, it is temporary & lasts 8/10 days.
Years ago, Egyptian men and women dipped their fingers into henna. This resulted in red tipped fingers. It was also considered inappropriate to leave the house without such application of heena.
Heena was often used by dessert dwellers as a cooling agent and applied on hands and feet. This helped to ward off the ill effects of heat.
The Yemenite and North African Jewish communities also apply Henna during weddings. Henna is called Chenah in Hebrew. In addition, within the small Jewish Yemeni culture, the prenuptial ceremony is called “hinne”.