India is the land of colorful festivals and each festival has its own cultural, religious and social significance. Each festival is wrapped with its own pious rituals and styles. The festival of Karva Chauth is one such festival which is considered auspicious and is dedicated to husband s long life and well being. Mehndi plays a very important role in Karva Chauth celebrations. Tradition of applying mehndi on arms and feet is essential part of the rituals associated with the festival as Mehndi is considered to be auspicious for married women. There is practice of performing puja with mehndi decked arms and feet.
Associated Beliefs with Mehndi
There are many beliefs related to mehndi and the color obtained from mehndi. It is commonly believed that more intense is the color from mehndi more is the love showered by the husband of that woman. Darkness and intensity of mehndi color also symbolizes the prosperity and good fortune for the family of that woman. It is also said commonly by elder people that one should always be like mehndi, as mehndi gives away her color to beautify ones hands, the same way married woman should also be munificent and kind to sacrifice certain things to beautify her family.
Women get intricate mehndi patterns on their hands and feet before participating in puja for the Karva Chauth. There are different methods of applying henna, but the most convenient one is to use cone for applying beautiful and fine mehndi designs, as cones are cheap and disposable. Following is the procedure for making mehndi cones:
How to Make Mehndi Cones
- Small Freezer Bags
- Rubber Band
- Scotch Tape
- Decide the size of the cone as per the convenience, small size cones are preferred as can be handled easily. Cut the freezer bag into squares of the decided size about 6 inches square.
- Fold the square into the cone or funnel shape. Care should be taken while folding as the plastic is very slippery and you will want to wrap the square around itself in such a way that it completely overlaps (leaving no open spaces for the paste to squeeze out).
- Don’t forget to leave a small hole at the bottom of the funnel, to allow the paste to squeeze out without difficulty. This might take some practice.
- After forming the exact cone shape, tape the side edges where the plastic overlaps.
- Always try to keep a few small pieces of tape handy for using at the end for taping cone from the bottom to the top of the funnel.
- Mehndi/ heena Powder( sieved through muslin cloth)
- Mehndi cone
- Eucalyptus oil
- Mustard oil
- First make the smooth mehndi paste by mixing water in mehndi powder, paste should be without lumps and should be free flowing.
- Now take the cone and pour the mehndi into it, care should be taken that paste should not leak from any edges of the cone. Broader end of the cone should be tied with a rubber band after pouring mehndi.
- Now the cone is ready to create beautiful patterns, wash arms and wipe properly to avoid spreading of mehndi designs.
- Put the drops of eucalyptus oil on palms and spread evenly on whole area (area for applying mehndi) to get the dark reddish brown hue of mehndi.
- Now, lightly squeeze the mehndi paste on the palm and start creating patterns or designs.
- Once the designing is complete, keep the palm straight for drying of mehndi at least for 2 hours or the maximum time one can keep for getting darker color.
- Care should be taken while drying, as contact with any thing can spoil the designs and mehndi.
- Once the mehndi appears dried, Pat the cotton dipped in solution (sugar and lemon solution) on the palm with mehndi designs this further darkens to a reddish-brown color.
- After the proper drying remove the mehndi gently and apply mustard oil to it for getting dark color. Avoid washing your hands with water at least for 12 hours to get the perfect effect.