Henna, also known as Heena, is a form of body art that has existed since times immemorial. Not only in India, but in countries like Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Morocco, Yemen, etc, henna has been a popular form of traditional body art and design. This form of body design is also known as Mehndi
, especially in the Asian countries like India. It is used for numerous purposes, as a mode of personal expression, for religious occasion, as a part of social functions, for healing purposes, etc.
Henna in Contemporary World
The current trend of globalization has led to the opening of the national boundaries. With this, cultural integration has taken place and the practice of applying henna has crossed borders. Infact, the traditional practice has today acquired new interpretations and uses. Famous celebrities of U.S.A. and Europe, including artists, actors, models, singers, pop stars and musicians, have started patronizing the use of henna, along with that of its traditional designs. Foreign going to Asian countries look for places where they can get mehndi applied.
Popular Henna Patterns and Designs
Though there are no set patterns or designs for Henna, there are some popular designs that have been followed since ages. One of the most popular designs is that of a checkerboard. The outline is usually in the shape of a ‘Paan’ leaf and square boxes are drawn intricately inside. Then alternate boxes are filled with henna thus giving the look of a checkerboard. Another popular pattern is a lovely peacock, with the sharp and curved beak and the corona on the head. Some people also go in for partial designs. This means that a beautiful creeper with flower patterns and leaves are drawn from the index finger to the wrist, the entire palm is not filled with designs.
Why is Henna Popular
The best aspect of heena is that it is totally natural, made from Lawsonia Inermis plant. Its leaves are first dried and then, crushed to make a fine powder. While applying, the powder is mixed with water. This makes heena totally safe to use. Along with that, its application is totally painless and the effect is temporary. You can use henna to get tattoos, without worrying about pain or infection. In case you are not satisfied with a particular tattoo, just wait for a few days. Its color will soon wash off and you can easily go for another design.
Benefits of Henna
Apart from this, mehndi has a number of other beneficial effects too. It cools the skin and is also used for coloring, cleansing as well as conditioning hair. Lawsonia Inermis (henna) plant grows in areas with a climate. One can easily find this plant in counties like Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Morocco, Yemen, Egypt, Uganda, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Senegal, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and India. The other names by which the plant is known are Henne, Al-Khanna, Jamaica Mignonette, Egyptian Privet, and Smooth Lawsonia.