Among all the pre-marriage events, the Mehndi Ceremony has a charm of its own and is celebrated with extraordinary flourish. It is generally believed that the Mehndi ceremony brings good luck and prosperity to the happy couple. This ceremony usually takes place after the engagement ceremony, around two or three days prior to the wedding. It can also happen a week before the actual shaadi (wedding). Undeniably, “Mehndi,” also known as “Mayun” or “Dholki” is the most awaited event in a desi marriage.
Mehndi arrives with lots of color, music and drama. We see heaps of stunning florals sitting atop the guest tables and hanging in the hall. Every mehndi has a vibrant stage where the bride and groom sit, a huge dance floor, and an intense sound system.
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For this event, both the bride and the groom dress suitably, the bride wears a bright colored dress with loads of flowers and styles herself up with help of a salon’s party makeup, the groom dons a stylish shalwar qameez as they both make a grand entrance under a chunri or a colored dupatta. The groom’s friends and family bring mithai, sweets and gifts for the bride, and the bride’s family does the same for the groom.
In some families both bride and groom and groom enter the mehndi hall separately, but mostly nowadays they arrive and sit together as the event proceeds. Dry fruits, mehndi cones and glittery bangles are distributed among the female guests and the close relative and male cousins are given matching scarves dupattay, the girls wear same colored heavy dresses which are designed especially for the event as later on they dance in them as well. This same themed dress system is also used so other guests can easily spot them as the dulhan walay or the dulha walay.
For mehndi, the bride usually wears only the flower jewelry. It normally consists of a flower bracelet, earnings and some flowers for hair. Most of the brides prefer to wear motia, (cataract) but you may also select any other flower like roses or lilies.
The close friends and relatives of bride also wear flower bracelets on the mehndi function.
During the ceremony, mehndi/henna is placed on the couple’s hands. This ritual is said to bring good luck for the couple, and dates back to the early 15th century, when Mughal rulers first brought mehndi plants to the region. The bride has henna applied all over her hands and feet, which when washed leave a bright red color with a great scent. By the way, do you know, as part of tradition, the bride isn’t required to work in her susral (marital-home) until the mehndi fades away, because she is going to be a new bride and hence deserves the “Vip Treatment.”
One rasm that is performed during the mehndi ceremony is when the bride’s sisters and female cousins all gang up together to demand money from the groom. They spiritedly ask for their own shares as they are going to present their lovely sister as his bride.
Then comes the part we all love! The dance floor is ready to rock.
With huge applause the close cousins and the youngsters close to the couple start to come and show their moves on the dance floor, this is a trend which is famous because the relatives actually take turns performing some awesome choreographed medleys. The happy guests open up their snapchat apps and click loads of pictures. Both clans come prepared for the dance and dhol dhamakka that takes place on the floor, they even call for the bride and groom to join them in the end.
Additionally, folks also hire a dhol (drum) beater as with his help, the most famous desi dance – “bhangra” is performed, which totally changes the environment.
The friends and relatives of the bride also love to have singing competitions and they may perform dandiya (a type of an eastern dance played with sticks) on the mehndi function.
Different religions have their own wedding rituals and styles of celebration, but Mehndi is one such that is common for people belonging to various religions, especially for Muslims and Hindus. The bride and groom enjoy their mehndi a lot, as before marriage they seldom get time to interact; they enjoy seeing each other on stage with all the color, attention and the lively music surrounding them.
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