What is Henna?

I have had henna applied to my hands and feet many times and if you are a regular guest to Indian weddings I am sure you have your hands applied with henna. For so long I had no idea what henna was even made of. So I did what any other modern woman does, I Googled it. I found out that Henna is a flowering plant. When I saw a photo of the plant I was so surprised because it was nothing like I thought it would look like.

Henna, or sometimes called Mehndi, is more or less a temporary tattoo (natural plant based dye) that is applied to a woman’s hands and feet prior to her wedding day. There are many different designs that a woman can get some of the most popular are; a flower, a peacock, or my favorite the paisley. A henna design is applied to both sides of a woman’s hands and goes all the way up the arm to her elbow. The top of the feet also have a henna design applied to them (so toe rings are a must on your wedding day).

Henna is applied as a wet paste and can take anywhere from 1-5 hours to dry. After your henna dries you have to scrape off the dry paste and your design is revealed. Your henna design can last anywhere from 1-3 weeks and will be a dark red color. Lemon juice is applied to the henna while it is still wet on the skin to help the henna have a deeper red color.

The funnest thing about a bride-to-be getting henna is that the henna artist hides the grooms name inside the henna design. On the wedding night the groom is supposed to find his name in her henna designed hands. If he can not find his name in the henna, then the bride is said to have the upper hand in the marriage.

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