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The Henna Night

Posted by Hay Brunsdon on February 11 2014.

Have you ever wondered who decided to class you as poultry in the lead up to your big day? Ever wondered who thought it was appropriate to use a word most people associate with the adult female of domestic foul to describe you? To stick the boot in further, the word hen is also used to refer to a female octopus and a nosy, fussy old woman. Fabulous.

hennaHowever, before you become too incensed at being given such an objectionable name, many people believe the term came from the word ‘henna’.

In some Gulf Arab States henna is applied to the hands and feet of the bride in the days before the wedding during a Mehndi ceremony. It is a very important part of both Hindu and Muslim weddings and makes up part of the pre and post-wedding ceremonies.

The Mehndi is a jovial affair, with traditional music, laughter, friends dancing and celebrating the bride before her wedding and indicating the significance of the bride leaving her home to join her husband’s. The bride is often given advice by older women on married life (undoubtedly reminding her that his leaving the toilet seat up is not grounds for divorce).

What is henna?

henna2Henna is the name of the paste taken from a henna plant and applied to the skin with a cone filled with the paste. It is left to dry and after 20 minutes the paste will have turned into a mud which is then scraped off. The henna design will darken gradually through oxidation and will finally turn a reddish brown and then can last for up to three weeks.

The patterns are elaborate and often have floral designs, some of which signify fertility, and for fun the groom’s name is often hidden on the right hand palm which he has to find before he can sleep on his wedding night (we hope for his sake it doesn’t take too long!)

Even if you haven’t got a traditional Indian wedding planned, there’s no reason you can’t don a sari and enjoy one of our Bollywood parties where you’ll learn all the moves from a Bollywood blockbuster.


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Henna Close Up

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