Haldi & Mehndi is yet another traditional yet exciting pre wedding ceremony. In India, a lot of emphasis is given on customs and rituals. Indian people are ardent lovers of beauty and elegance. This is what reflects in the Mehndi ceremony before marriage. Mehendi ceremony has been prevalent since ages and forms such an integral part of the wedding ceremony that it cannot be imagined without it. Furthermore, Mehandi is one of the sixteen adornments of the bride and her beauty is incomplete without it.
Mehndi ceremony usually takes place just before marriage. Mehndi ceremony is essentially organized by the family of the bride and is usually a private affair which takes place in the presence of friends, relatives and family members. However, the scale of the ceremony depends upon individual choice. Some people celebrate it with great pomp and show. Sometimes, the Mehndi ceremony resembles another sangeet ceremony.
Nevertheless, during the ceremony, turmeric paste (made from turmeric, rosewater, water, sandalwood powder and other purifying and fragrant ingredients) is applied to both the bride and groom's face, feet and hands.
The haldi ceremony is said to remove any nervousness from the groom, as well as, bless the couple with fortune and prosperity. Turmeric, a natural exfoliate, so it is also applied to the bride’s face so she will have sparkling skin for her wedding day. During this time female members of the family sing and dance as family and friends apply haldi on the face, arms and legs of the bride-to-be. this is usually followed by the bride and groom's re-entrance to the function. Once the haldi is washed off, the bride looks radiant and stands out in the crowd. It is believed that the yellow color lightens and clears the skin of any blemishes and brings a natural shine to the face.
After this, the Mehndi application begins. For applying Mehndi to the bride, a skilled Mehndi expert is called. she applies Mehndi on bride's hands, arms, feet and legs. Traditionally, the Mehndi applied to the bride was obtained by drying the leaves of the Henna plant. Nowadays there are various types of Mehndi designs available in the market. Some of the popular Mehndi designs include Arabic Mehndi, Rajasthani Mehndi, Crystal Mehndi and Tattoo Mehndi.
This also points towards the fact that Mehndi has become more of an accessory. However, no matter whatever might be its form, it is still an essential element of the bride. According to popular belief, the darker the color of the Mehndi, the more her husband will love her. As a tradition, the bride is not allowed to work in her marital house till the time her Mehndi does not fade away. This ceremony takes place amidst musical beats with women singing for a prosperous marital life of the couple.