What is henna mehndi

History of henna tattoo, Mehndi henna mehndi

Body painting has probably been around for as long as humans have existed. The oldest evidence from ancient Egypt exists for the use of henna as a cosmetic, dye and remedy.

The symbols applied to the body with henna have their own meaning and are usually supposed to promise good luck and health. Depending on the religious and traditional backgrounds, the patterns differ from country to country. Fine lines and structures are typical of Indian henna painting, mostly floral or paisley patterns are chosen.

Whole parts of the body are also painted here, which is not so common in other countries. A circle pattern is often found in southern India and is painted on the palms of the hands. In addition, the fingertips are colored.


Islamic henna art

In Islamic henna art, painting is mostly limited to hands and feet. While figurative representations such as human faces, birds and other animals are quite common in India, these are avoided by the Muslims as they are forbidden to wear them on their bodies when praying. Large, floral and geometric designs are popular for this. The patterns often cover almost the entire hand, and the fingertips and nails are also colored with henna.

Henna art in Sudan and North Africa

In Sudan you can find very large motifs, which are usually applied with black henna (hem), which is almost exclusively used by men. African henna painting is characterized by broad contours, which mostly represent geometric figures.

In North Africa, on the other hand, there are artistic patterns on the hands that at first glance look like lace gloves.

Primitive peoples paint themselves at weddings

Some indigenous peoples apply henna to their skin without any pattern. Here the healing power of henna is in the foreground. The painted areas of the skin are protected from excessive solar radiation and the disinfecting effect of the plant extracts accelerates wound healing in the event of possible injuries or burns.

Body painting with henna plays an important role at weddings.

Hindus North India: Widows are not allowed to paint themselves

With the Hindus of northern India, a wedding without the traditional mehndi ritual is hardly conceivable. On the evening before the wedding, the wise women of the place, the female members of both families and the bride's friends gather in the bride's house to decorate the bride accordingly.

Widows who, according to Indian custom, no longer have any reason to be happy are not allowed to participate. In addition, the bride should avoid looking at widows until her body paint has completely faded, as these are supposed to bring bad luck. After the bath, the women paint the bride's hands, forearms, feet and lower legs with the selected patterns, with congratulations.

The name of the groom is often included in one of the designs, which he then has to find on the wedding night, which can take a long time. A custom that serves to break down inhibitions and build up eroticism. Tradition has it that the very first mehndi point is applied to the bride's hand by the future mother-in-law, the point is considered a symbolic blessing that is of great importance to the bride.

The joyful ceremony of mehndi painting, during which there is a lot of singing and fooling around, has the purpose of beautifying the bride and of getting the women of both families to know each other better and the young woman being initiated into the secrets of married life. In some regions of India the groom is also adorned with mehndis. In certain areas of Kashmir and Bangladesh there are even very special motifs that are exclusively reserved for men.

The procedure in the Gulf region of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Emirates is similar to that in India. However, the mehndi celebrations start here a few days before the wedding. Body painting with henna also plays an important role in births and baptisms. In Morocco there is a beautiful custom of decorating the groom during the bachelor party with henna tattoos, which are painted on by his best man, who must be unmarried.

Celtic tattoos

For some time now, Celtic tattoos have also been very much in fashion. These are applied for washable patterns with other colors such as textile paints, water-soluble face paints or liquid tattoo paints by hand or with the airbrush method, but have now also found their way into henna art. The Celts did not use henna as paint, but "woad", a blue dye. There are also traditions that the Celts were painted in particularly bright colors, although a design rarely consisted of more than four colors, all of which were of a vegetable nature.

Historical sources about the body painting of the Celts go back to the middle of the 1st century BC. BC Caesar also described the painting of the Celts in his Gallic War. There are also sources from which it emerges that the Celts of Northern Great Britain were naked and presented their bodies painted with animal motifs.

However, there are no actual findings that scientifically substantiate this. On the other hand, there are finds from AD 400 that show how resourceful and creative the Celts were and how strongly they adapted Roman and Byzantine patterns. Wonderful books were created in the monasteries, which show the skills of the Celtic artists of the time, especially when it comes to border decorations and decors.

Jewelry makers, blacksmiths and stonemasons also used expressive patterns such as wickerwork and stairs. With the ban on the Celtic-Columban Church (644 AD), Celtic art was very much limited. In the following centuries the art age of the Celts became a thing of the past. Celtic art was not rediscovered until the 19th century.

Since the 1970s, Celtic tattoos came into fashion in this country, which previously caused a sensation in Great Britain. Those who do not want a tattoo for life can choose the method of permanent make-up, which remains on the skin for around five years, or use body painting with henna, which is permanent between one and eight weeks. A washable liner is used for fast-paced party effects.

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