Timeline created by maddisonvirgina
  • Jan 1, 700

    Origin of Mehndi

    Origin of Mehndi
    Mehndi originated in Egypt and was carried to India where it was used in 700 AD for decorating hands and feet. Historically henna has also been used for medicinal purposes, to dye cloth and leather as well as hair, to color the manes of horses and other fur of other animals.
  • Period:
    Jan 1, 700

    Factors & Change

    Over time things change, it's how we develop cultures and expressions within those cultures. The advancement in technology has created a new platform for this cultural expression to reach many other countries. These advancements have created a new age for henna designs all over the world. The connections through modern technology have spread the beauty of henna to people who might not have ever known of this cultural expression. Social media platforms have helped this cultural expression grow.
  • Jun 24, 720

    The History

    The History
    The art of henna (called mehndi in Hindi & Urdu) has been practiced for over 5000 years in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East. There is some documentation that it is over 9000 years old. Henna was not only a popular adornment for the rich but the poor, who could not afford jewelry, used it to decorate their bodies as well.
  • Mar 26, 750

    How It Was Used

    How It Was Used
    Henna has natural cooling properties so people of the desert, for centuries, have been using henna to cool down their bodies. They make a paste of henna and soak their palms and soles of the feet in it to get an air conditioning affect. They feel its cooling sensation throughout the body for as long as the henna stain remains on their skin. Initially, as the stain faded away, it left patterns on the skin surface which led to ideas to make designs for decorative purposes.
  • Apr 17, 800

    Ancient Egypt

    Ancient Egypt
    The use of Henna for body art is several centuries old at least. The people of ancient Egypt and India used this form of temporary tattoo for religious ceremonies, wedding festivals, and for simple body adornment.
  • Jun 11, 850

    The Henna Plant

    The Henna Plant
    Henna is a flowering plant that grows 12-15 feet high and comes from the sole species of the Lawsonia genus. Henna henna was used for cosmetic purposes in the Roman Empire, Convivencia-period Iberia and Ancient Egypt, as well as other parts of North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Near East and South Asia. It can be found in other hot climates like Pakistan, India and Australia. It also grows better in dry soil than damp soil.
  • Western Twist

    Western Twist
    Today people all over the world have adopted the ancient traditions of adorning their bodies with the beautiful natural artwork created from the henna plant. It became a very popular form of temporary body decoration in the 90's in the US and has become a growing trend ever since. Celebrities like Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Yasmine Bleeth, Liv Tyler, Xena, and many others proudly adorn their bodies with henna and show them off in public, movies, videos, etc.
  • Henna Tattoos

    Henna Tattoos
    Practiced mainly in India and Pakistan, mehndi or henna is the application of as a temporary form of skin decoration, popularized in the West by Indian cinema and entertainment industry, the people in Nepal, Bangladesh and the Maldives also use mehndi. Mehndi decorations became fashionable in the West in the late 1990s, where they are called henna tattoos.
  • Wedding Traditions

    Wedding Traditions
    The most popular of the traditions is the Mehndi (henna) Night where the bride, her family, relatives and friends get together to celebrate the wedding to come. The bride gets extensive henna patterns done on her hands and feet that go to her elbows and sometimes, knees. The bridal patterns can take hours and are often done by multiple henna artists. The guests will usually receive small designs (tattoos) on the backs of their hands as well.
  • The Expression

    The Expression
    The way that henna was originally used in India is very different to north america. The two different cultures express the beauty of henna in many ways. For example in India it is important to get henna done on your wedding day, both hands and feet. Whereas in north america, it just only common for a small pattern or picture to be painting onto one or both hands.
  • West Adapting To Traditions

    West Adapting To Traditions
    People throughout the west have adopted the eastern tradition in their lives by having their hands and feet painted for weddings, bellies painted while in pregnancy, heads adorned with henna while going through chemotherapy, scars camouflaged to make them unnoticeable, etc.
  • Reflection

    Since the importance of mehndi has changed over the years that women have used it, the reflection on the origin of mehndi is important. Respecting the original meaning behind the art, while also creating a different aspect of the designs is key. There's nothing wrong with expressing yourself in different ways but it is wrong if you are offending other cultures.
  • The Modern Age

    The Modern Age
    In the modern age and even due to limited supply of Indian Traditional Mehndi artists, usually people buy ready-made Henna cones, which are ready to use and make painting easy. However, in rural areas in India, women grind fresh henna leaves on grinding stones with added oil, which though not as refined as professionally prepared henna cones, achieves much darker colors.
  • Modern Wedding Traditions

    Modern Wedding Traditions
    Today, brides prefer to have their henna done prior to the mehndi night so that they can enjoy the festivities and also have a deeper stain by the wedding day.Tradition holds that for as long as the henna stain appears on the bride, she doesn't have to do any housework! Also, the darker the stain the better the marriage and the better the mother-in-law will be! So you can imagine why the bride would want the stain to come our dark and last as long as possible!
  • Social Media Accounts

    Social Media Accounts
    Instagram is a popular social media platform where most people express their artistic side through short videos or pictures. Most popular accounts make a living off posting these pictures and videos. These accounts also involve women painting henna on their hands. The content created is very vast, involving many different patterns and designs from many different women.