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.
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