Everyday Significance of Henna Powder
Henna has been a part of our history since times immemorial. Henna is a staple ceremony associated with ancient rituals like weddings, births, rites and other celebrations. In spite of the fact that Henna has had a rich past with many customs and traditions, it has also witnessed resurgence of sorts as a contemporary art form.
Commercially available herbal henna mehndi powder is prepared by drying the henna leaves and grinding them to powder, and then sifting it. The powder obtained is then mixed with lemon juice, tamarind, coffee, cloves, strong tea, lemon and sugar to give it a toothpaste-like consistency. Mehndi or henna is applied with one of the many traditional tools or the modern cello-wrap cone that are available these days.
It is also blended with Essential oils with high levels of “terps”, monoterpene alcohols such as eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, or cajeput that improve skin stain characteristics.
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Some of the various applications of Natural Herbal Henna are as follows:
Henna paste is usually applied on grey hair. Apply the mixture, wrap your head, leave the mixture to sit on your head for a few hours and then wash it. Natural herbal henna mehndi is the best choice for hair because it is pure and safe. These days, people also use Black Henna. Black Henna is usually made using para-phenylenediamine, a chemical dye which imparts black hues to the surface on which it is applied. Besides scarring the area on which it is applied, PPD can cause permanent harm to your body so it is best avoided.
Compared to Arabic designs which are bolder, Indian designs are more finely detailed. Indian designs comprise intricate work that fills the entire palm of the bride. A bridal design usually goes all the way up to the elbows. The entire palm is filled with beautiful designs and almost no part of the hand is left blank.
Flowers, peacocks and mangos are some of the most common figures used in Indian designs. Traditionally, the groom’s name is hidden on the bride’s palm in the midst of the elaborate design. Moreover, depiction of marriage processions, groom sitting atop a horse, bridal palanquin, musical instruments and musicians playing instruments are shown on the hands.
Also, the feet of the bride are emblazoned with circuitous and intricate henna designs. Since, the strength of love in a marriage is signified by the henna artwork, the bride goes that extra mile to retain the impression of herbal henna mehndi powder as long as possible.
As per Indian traditions and customs, mehndi is generally applied during weddings, both Hindu and Muslim, and Hindu festivals like Karva Chauth, Bhai Dooj, Diwali, Teej and Vat Purnima. Muslim women also apply mehndi during festivals like Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.
The Sunnah tradition of Islam calls upon Muslim men to dye their hair and beard red with henna. Muslim women were also encouraged to dye their nails with henna so that their hands could be distinguished from those of men and demonstrate feminity.
Henna has enjoyed a newfound success as a form of art in the west, thanks to prominent flashes of celebrities donning Henna dyed hair in the media. It gained significant traction in the West when Lucille Ball of “I Love Lucy” fame colored her hair red with Henna. Also, the Counter culture of the 1960s that gripped the Western World and the associated interest in the Eastern Culture helped to propel its popularity. With time, number of companies came up and started producing Herbal Henna Products and catered to the burgeoning crowd.
Although the Henna fad is now a thing of the past and pretty much over, the color and hues of Henna continues to bind spiritualism to contemporary fashion and art.