The role of Henna in South Asian Weddings

July 08, 2013

“Mehndi laga ke rakhna, dholi sajaa ke rakhna”. To all the Bollywood fans out there, this is not only a familiar song, but also a very popular wedding song! Check it out!

The meaning of the song is that the bride should be prepared with mehndi on her hands for the groom to take her away. This idea has been quite popularized in Indian cinema and even throughout the world.

Mehndi, also modernly known as Henna, originated as a common Desi tradition for weddings and special events or parties. The henna plant as a dark green color to it when wet and is applied directly onto the skin, through the nose a cone.


The applied henna is to be dried for hours, even overnight for a better color. The final color is a dark maroon or a deep orange, enhancing the traditional red color of Indian weddings.


The night of the train of events for an Indian wedding starts with the application of mehndi. This ritual is not only a fun event for all the girls in the conjoining family, but it is also culturally meaningful as it leaves the bride with a good omen.

Just for fun the bride has her to-be-hubby's initials added into the henna design and he has to find his initials in that intricate design after the wedding. If he loses the game, the bride wins prize money from her husband.

There are so many different designs for Henna, ranging from traditional paisleys to modern geometric designs:




Which Henna design would you like at your next wedding?

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