Mehndi or Henna is derived from the Sanskrit word mendhikā. The use of mehndi and turmericis described in the earliest Hinduism's Vedic ritual books. Haldi (staining oneself with turmeric paste) as well as mehndi are Vedic customs, intended to be a symbolic representation of the outer and the inner sun. Vedic customs are centered around the idea of "awakening the inner light". Traditional Indian designs are of representations of the sun on the palm, which, in this context, is intended to represent the hands and feet.
In Hindu festivals, many women have Henna applied to their hands and feet. It is usually drawn on the palms and feet, where the design will be clearest because the skin on these surfaces naturally contains less of the pigment melanin. Henna was originally used as a form of decoration mainly for Hindu brides.
Muslims festivals adopted subsequently during Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha as well.
In the modern age and even due to limited supply of Indian Traditional Mehndi artists, usually people buy ready-made Henna cones, which are ready to use and make painting easy. However, in rural areas in India, women grind fresh henna leaves on grinding stones with added oil, which though not as refined as professionally prepared henna cones, brings much darker colors.
Mehndi: is a ceremonial art form which originated in ancient India. Intricate patterns of mehndi are typically applied to brides before wedding ceremonies. The bridegroom is also painted in some parts of India.
In Rajasthan, the grooms are given designs that are often as elaborate as those for brides. In Assam, apart from marriage, it is broadly used by unmarried women during Rongali bihu, but there are no restrictions on its use by married women.
Muslims in India also started to use it as an indication of coming of age. Henna is now also used in some Gulf States, where the night before the wedding night is dedicated to decorating the bride with henna, and called "Henna night". In the Middle East and Africa, it is common for women to apply henna to their fingernails and toenails and to their hands.
In Africa, henna was used as part of spiritual practices by tribes to decorate their bodies and for protective purposes when certain symbols/designs were incorporated.
As a result, some African countries like Somalia, henna is applied to women and girls during Eid, weddings, and visits to important people or relatives. In most countries, Henna is seen as a way for women to beautify themselves (as jewels), so is well decorated and applied with good care.
Traditional Hindu Weddings in India can often be long, ritualistic, and elaborate affairs with many pre-wedding, wedding and post wedding ceremonies. Different countries and regions of a country celebrate the ceremonies in different ways according to their own marriage customs, rituals, and culture.
In Bangladesh, the Mehndi ceremony has traditionally been separated into two events; one organized by the bride's family and one, by the groom's family. Mehndi ceremonies take place outside India, Pakistan and Bangladesh amongst the South Asian community and places like Birmingham in the UK are such known hotspots for lavish Mehndi celebrations.