Henna is a flowering plant used since antiquity to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather and wool. The name is also used for dye preparations derived from the plant, and for the art of temporary tattooing based on those dyes.
For skin dyeing, a paste of ground henna (either prepared from a dried powder or from fresh ground leaves) is placed in contact with the skin from a few hours to overnight. Henna stains can last a few days to a month depending on the quality of the paste, individual skin type, and how long the paste is allowed to stay on the skin.
The Night of the Henna was celebrated by most groups in the areas where henna grew naturally: Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Zoroastrians, among others, all celebrated marriages by adorning the bride, and often the groom, with henna. It was also used for celebrations as birthdays, circumcision or religious one such as: Eid, Diwali or others. When there was joy, there was henna.
Henna was regarded as having “Barakah” blessings, and was applied for luck as well as joy and beauty. Brides typically had the most henna, and the most complex patterns, to support their greatest joy, and wishes for luck. The fashion of “Bridal Mehendi-Henna tattooing” in Pakistan, Northern Libya and in North Indian Diasporas is currently growing in complexity and elaboration, with new innovations in glitter, gilding, and fine-line work.
Bridal henna designs