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Why do we have Mehndi Ceremany?

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Indian marriages are known for their many rituals. In fact, the beauty of Indian weddings comes forth in the numerous traditions that are associated with the special celebration. Indian weddings are incomplete without dance, music and lots of laughter. Furthermore, Indian weddings are not a one day ceremony. Pre-wedding ceremonies begin before the wedding and can sometimes be a week long celebration.

◾Traditional Belief (what people think):

It is a common belief that the darker the color the mehndi leaves on the hands on a bride, the more will she be loved by her husband and mother-in-law. However, the significance of applying mehndi during weddings is not restricted just to sentiments and beliefs. Although these beliefs make the application of mehndi a much anticipated and charming tradition, the actual reason is of much deeper significance, which is sometimes forgotten in the present day.

◾Scientific (Ancient) Belief:

Besides lending color to the hands, mehndi is a very powerful medicinal herb. Weddings are stressful, and often, the stress causes headaches and fevers. As the wedding day approaches, the excitement mixed with nervous anticipation can take its toll on the bride and groom. Application of mehndi can prevent too much stress because it cools the body and keeps the nerves from becoming tense. This is the reason why mehndi is applied on the hands and feet, which house nerve endings in the body. Also, being a highly antiseptic agent, mehndi can protect the couple from viral diseases. Such diseases are totally undesirable just before the wedding and this medicinal herb can lend a strong shield. Any small cuts, burns or scratches that the couple might sustain during the course of so many rituals and customs can be healed easily with the application of mehndi. It improves blood circulation in the body and enhances general health. The initial practice of applying mehndi in ancient times began in order to protect the couple and keep them healthy.

Mehndi that is applied during Indian weddings is not just a plain paste of mehndi powder and water. Eucalyptus oil, a bit of clove oil and a few drops of lemon are added. These oils not only help in darkening the color of mehndi on the body, but also enhance the benefits of mehndi and make the paste highly medicinal. The best part is that the smell, the beautiful rich color and the health benefits that mehndi lends act as a powerful aphrodisiac. Also, since the color and smell remain for days, it boosts the romance in the initial days of wedding.

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