When Christina Hendricks tied the knot with Geoffrey Arend on October 11, the “Mad Men” actress wore a henna design painted on her hands and feet. Henna (or mehndi as it is properly known) is one of the most important wedding rituals in India. It became popular in the West in the 90s and is generally used for special occasions.
Mehndi signifies the strength of marriage, and the darker the color, the longer the union will last. It also is believed to bring about fruitfulness and prosperity. During the process, powder from henna leaves is mixed with water to create a paste. The paste is applied on the hands and feet to form intricate designs. It is left on for 12 hours to ensure the color comes out dark and rich. Find out about Jessica Simpson’s henna tattoo.
The mehndi ceremony is usually held at the bride’s home on the eve of the wedding. Guests gather as women and children sing. Many times the groom’s name or initials are painted within the design, and at the end of the wedding he must try to find it.
Jessica Simpson recently got a mehndi design painted on her hands when she visited India as part of her reality show “The Price of Beauty.”
“The intricate mehendi designs are typically Indian, and made with a turmeric paste,” her rep says. “They’re worn at wedding ceremonies, and are supposed to bring good luck to eligible single women in India.”