The Henna dye is obtained from the leaves of a flowering shrub grown in South Asia and Northern Africa. It is used to create temporary tattoos on a Muslim or Hindu bride's skin and hair on the eve of her wedding during a gathering of female friends and family.
The bride must sit still for hours, while a henna artist applies paste made from henna to her body. While the henna artist is painting designs on the bride, the friends and family eat, drink and dance, celebrating the future wedding. Very intricate patterns of henna paste are drawn onto the bride's body. The most frequent motif is that of the lotus flower which symbolizes purity and new beginnings.
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Henna is beautiful
It could take hours to apply the paste and it is left on the body for a long time. The longer the paste stays on, the stronger the colour that remains when the paste is washed off. It is thought that the deeper the colour, the stronger the bond between the couple and the better the relationship with the mother-in-law.
Henna is applied on the feet, arches and ankles, along the tops of the hands and fingers and along the sides of the hands and onto the arms. It's also applied along the full length of the arm from the hands to the shoulders. The look is beautiful when completed.