Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mehendi Symbols, Patterns and meanings

Mehendi is a custom or tradition in India that has been present and handed down for centuries together. Initially used mainly for its healing and cooling properties, Mehendi, or "Henna" as its more popularly known here, has become famous for its designs all the way till the West. Today Mehendi designing has become commercial and is part of many important Indian ocassions, infact in an Indian wedding the "Mehendi" is a seperate day and occassion itself!

Mehendi designing is much more than just 'designing'. Like everything traditional in India, it symoblises a lot more than being just pleasing to look and feel, its mostly known to bring Good luck to the wearer. The darker the color the better the luck!..

I have done research on what these Mehendi symbols and motifs mean and have listed some of the main motifs incorporated in Mehendi designs.


In India, board games have been popular since time immemorial. This simple
representation of a game board is a traditional Indian henna pattern dating at least to the late 19th century, and continues to be included in contemporary patterns. Artists may include this pattern as a metaphor for the "game of chance" that is a marriage, or as an expression of games as an enjoyable holiday activity.*



"Some people call this pattern a scorpion, some call it a pot hook, others call it a meander, some see it as a growing vine, while others speculate that it was used as an ancient symbol of reincarnation or life force. As a simple image of a scorpion, it is a symbol dating to the Middle Eastern late neolithic and early Bronze age and was associated with
women. The scorpion was a symbol of the goddess Inanna. Henna patterns from Rajasthan from before 1950 often have little scorpions on the fingers. Old henna and love songs use the metaphor of the scorpion for love: love, like a scorpion sting, makes one breathless, causes a massive hot hard swelling, and the inflamed part feels better when
dunked into something moist and soothing. The scorpion is also used in henna as a protective amulet, to "sting" the Evil Eye."





The Bud is one motif that is used widely by designers in mehendi in India and world over. Buds signify new growth like at the end of a drought and at the beginning of a rainy season or as a metaphor in bridal mehendi to symbolise the start of a new love and a new life.

Water ripples.

Ripples with bubbles in them.



Peacocks and the paisely are supposed to represent fertility and good luck.




These patterns are known as mandalas which means 'circle'and these circles are made to symbolise the Sun. The sun holds a lot of importance in Hinduism. It symbolises caring and protective of infertility, hunger, and sorrows of old age and death;It is also a symbol of blessing and fertility

13 comments:

Lauren said...

your pics are wonderful! thanks for sharing!

jocelyn said...

I would like to know wehre did you find that information?
I will like to get a tatto with that kind of art.
but I need more information please can you give me some?

rinirukmini said...

its not permanent. in the latest, it stays for 3-4 weeks. the color is red, and it takes a long time to dry, but i do it all the time. its good for your skin.

rinirukmini said...

its not permanent. in the latest, it stays for 3-4 weeks. the color is red, and it takes a long time to dry, but i do it all the time. its good for your skin.

rinirukmini said...

its not permanent. in the latest, it stays for 3-4 weeks. the color is red, and it takes a long time to dry, but i do it all the time. its good for your skin.

anonomous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonomous said...

I need to also know how you got all this information just so i can site it myself for my reasearch project!! thanks!

Mikayla said...

I'd love to be able to access your sources for this! Could you share them? Or possibly post them at the bottom of the article?

astanamigo said...

black henna is also very much popular but in a negative manner. But the real truth is that henna is not black... Atually people use black dye color as black henna. Please use such things because it harms your skins so mukch.. And always remember mehendi is the color of joy it never gives you harms . it's a natural beautifying product.

best mehendi designers in delhi

Intesab Hussain said...

Mehndi Designs have always been an integral part of how Indian brides decorate themselves. Mehndi Designs are something that most women love; however, over the past few years, the patterns and styles of Mehndi Designs have changed to a great extent. These days, women have different types of patterns Mehndi Designs to choose from based on the versatility, personalities, etc.

Mehndi-Manaic said...

luv ur pics

3mikindia said...

Awesome designs.Really nice.Love to add them to http://www.3mik.com/group/mehndi

jessica sheppard said...

Mehndis are truly one of a kind art and I am really fascinated with the patterns and designs associated with it. The first one I've seen was arabic mehndi designs and I was captured... I'd love to have one for my hands too.