For the 3rd task of gounesco, that is about capturing a cultural heritage, i decided to write about the ritual of applying Mehendi on every festive occasion be it a marriage ceremony or festivals like Rakshabandhan, Karva Chauth etc.
Since my childhood I’m witnessing women applying Mehendi and drawing designs out of it on their body (mostly on their palms), i used to think that its just a part of fashion and nothing else. But now when i look at it as a ritual, as a significant part of Indian culture, its no more merely a part of fashion.
Earlier, women used to sit together and make designs using Mehendi on each other’s arms before every festive occasion and they also used to believe that the darker the color of Mehendi after drying up. Not only married women but young girls are also fond of drawing these designs on their bodies.
What makes Mehendi significant is not only its aesthetic aspect but its other uses, it is used as a natural dye for coloring body hair, people also use it for lowering temperature or to beat the heat during summers by applying it on their heads.
Interaction with Mehendi artist :
Mehendi artists can be seen during peak festive days outside cosmetics stores in almost every market. These artists are practitioners as they learn this art only by practising. Drawing Mehendi designs fetches them money only during festive days being a part of ritual. As ritualistic practises happen only during a certain time of year, Mehendi never goes out of business because of tattoo fashion, Mehendi tattoos being safe and natural are accepted by youth and remain a part of trend and the culture prevails.
Not only women, but the groom is also supposed to apply Mehendi in their wedding ceremony.