Detailed lines, captivating patterns, alluring designs and the earthy smell of henna. There’s only one thing that we can be referring to, Mehendi! Mehendi is the oldest form of body art to come into existence. The word is derived from the Sanskrit word Mendhika which refers to the henna plant itself. The act of applying Mehendi during a wedding is so significant that an entire day is dedicated to it. Brides undergo complex designs applied to their hands and feet as a sign of good luck.
Classic Indian Mehendi is elaborative with florals, paisleys and meshwork. They complement the attire the bride wears on her special day. Some iconic designs are dholkis, palkis, mandap, Kalash and Dulhan-Dulha sketches. Vintage is timeless but brides these days look to experiment with their Mehendi patterns. To be struck with an idea, how about drawing inspiration from how other countries do their Mehendi? Keeping reading to find out!
1. Free-Flowing Arabic
Arabic Mehendi is minimal and calls for free-flowing lines. It captures simplicity with bold lines and empty spaces. This style is believed to have originated in the Gulf countries. A sense of royalty and elegance is attached to this style, which is aesthetic and pleasing. A popular fusion is the Indo-Arabic Mehendi style which combines Indian florals, leaves and dots with cashew-like lines and full-fledged shading.
2. Significant Moroccan
Moroccan Mehendi is inspired by inherited tribal emblems and designs. This style utilises zig-zag borders and geometric patterns giving them a contemporary and unique look. Popular shapes used in this style are diamonds which are believed to ward off the evil eye. They are of extremely high significance and all symbols have some sort of meaning attached to them. For example, the moon symbolises femininity and fertility.
3. Fierce African
It is a lesser-known fact that henna has been a part of African culture for 1000 years, particularly in tribes. African Mehendi is bold, fierce and visually striking. The style is similar to Arabic Mehendi in terms of bold lines and empty spaces but it’s more vivid with dark borders and strong symbols. The use of dots is quite popular in this type of Mehendi. Another famous design is the half-hand design adored by many brides.
4. Quirky Western
‘Henna Tattoos’ took western countries by storm in recent years for their originality, creativity and fashion. The temporary effect of henna allows greater exploration of various styles. This style of Mehendi brings out quirky designs, geometric swirls and modern sketches swaying away from traditional art. A popular pattern is mimicking jewellery with henna making it seem as if the bride has worn intricate hand ornaments. An Indo-Western take on this is giving the appearance of wearing a lace glove.
5. Ebony Pakistani
The most unique Mehendi style possibly with its pitch-black colouration is Pakistani Mehendi. This style is rich, gothic and sophisticated. Pakistani Mehendi uses a lot of architecture as inspiration such as domes, mosques and mandalas. The use of florals and leaves is also noted in this style. The technique uses bold outlines and intricate artwork giving a refined and cultured look. These designs are best suited for wedding festivities.