Henna/Mehndi is an ink used to decorate the body since biblical times. This ink comes from the henna plant, which grows in South Asia with the highest concentration in India.

Brides in Hindu weddings traditionally use mehndi in a ceremony performed a few days before she says, “I do.” The drawings on top of the hands are significant and often spiritual. They choose drawings believed to protect and bless the bride before her new union in marriage.

Depending on the design, the process could take 6-10 hours and must be left in place for at least 24 hours without washing off. It is then peeled off carefully to ensure the ink is absorbed into the skin. Mehndi typically lasts up to two weeks. Bridesmaids and the female members of both the bride and groom’s families accompany the bride during this ceremony and participate.

As it is called in the West, Henna is also used to dye hair and for people who want to test out a body design with temporary ink.