If you ever attend an Indian wedding then you might notice the beautiful tattoos adorning the bride’s hands. These intricate and often floral motifs are part of the Indian culture that symbolizes joy, good luck, health and positive vibes and are popularly known as “mehndi” or “henna” in Western countries. The henna paste used comes from natural Hawsonia shrubs. The twigs and leaves are ground to make fine powder which is then mixed with water to form the paste. Today, the mehndi designs are no longer exclusively done for weddings or festivals as one can have it done even without an occasion.
Mehndi Design Types
The motifs and designs of the Mehndi differ depending on a person’s cultural background. The oldest form of Mehndi is the Mughlai design which is distinct from other types as every single curl pattern and dot is emphasized boldly. Every design is meticulous and neatly done showcasing the pattern in a distinctive manner.
An Indian design for example can be easily identified by its complex patterns of flowers, curls, and curves with the figure of a peacock or a big dot in the center of the palm. The person’s fingertips are also usually covered with henna designs. Popular designs also include curling vines, teardrop shapes and paisley patterns.
Another type of Mehndi is the Arabic designs, distinguished by the use of floral arabesques in geometric patterns. The designs are simpler by nature often depicting nature such as leaves and flowers and since the designs are not filled up, it is usually preferred as they dry faster than other design types.
The Moroccan designs are similar to the Arabic pattern but more naturally geometric. The Moroccan style is also different in that designs often have symbolic meanings and are3 used as a protection against evil. Last but not least is the Pakistani design. This type is a combination of Indian and Arabic design and is often worn by brides and children during special festivals.
Choosing Your Designs
As henna tattoos become more popular, many individuals are now interested in Mehndi designs. However, unlike the westernized designs, Mehndi ones differ and depending on one’s comfort zone, designs can cover just the hands or even the entire arm area. Some designs are also used to cover the legs, ankles and other body parts. Designs may also have symbolic meaning while others are for decorative purposes only. Modern symbols and embellishments such as gems and pearls may also be added to make the design more elaborate.