Category Archives: Tradition

23 May

The tradition of henna

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe colorful, festive, ornamental aspects of an Indian wedding have always intrigued me. Perhaps I feel a certain level of comfort from a sense of familiarity, as there are many similarities in tradition and culture with Judaism. Mostly though, it’s a warm and welcoming feeling. At these celebrations among family members and friends, everyone wants all to feel a part of the festivities. I love the genuine and kind nature of this, and love that I can feel a part of it while most certainly embracing the traditions!

Last night, while attending the Indian celebration for friends that were just recently married, the extension of their wedding celebration was for the friends and family directly from India who weren’t able to attend the traditional Western celebration. It was a lovely, lively and most colorful event, with all the dancing and spicy food. There was henna art to be enjoyed by all. Cheerfully, I was one of the first In line!

Henna is by far one of my most favorite traditions at an Indian wedding. I find the intricacy and difference in every design so special, and I can’t get enough! Although, traditionally, we do not have this as part of ceremony at the Jewish weddings in my family, (we are not of the Sephardic lineage), I still think that one day I will incorporate this into my own wedding ceremony. I love it.

For some additional henna tidbits:

Henna has been applied at weddings for luck, as well as joy and beauty. Brides typically have the most henna, and the most complex patterns, to support their greatest joy, and wishes for luck. Some bridal traditions are very complex, such as those in Yemen, where the Jewish bridal henna process took four or five days to complete, with multiple applications and resist work. (Wikipedia)

A dark henna stain is said to be a sign of strong love. (I love this!)
A bride with an elaborate henna design is said to have had more sexual insight passed down to her from the elder women in both families.
The stain on your body for the next few weeks is a constant reminder of the special events surrounding your wedding day. (I love this too!)
Everyone has to wait on you hand and foot while you wait for your henna to stain. New brides are traditionally excused from housework until their henna patterns fade away. (Now we’re talking!!!)

Much love and light.
Have an easy Sunday morning.