Mehndi (Hindi: मेहँदी, Urdu: مہندی)

‘Mehndi (Hindi: मेहँदी, Urdu: مہندی) is the application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration in India and Pakistan’[see source below]and by women from Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities living in Scotland. Traditionally used for brides, it is still applied for weddings and also for other special occasions (mainly on the palms of the hands but also to the feet).

It is a temporary decoration which sits on the surface of the skin, not a tattoo. After application by the Mehndi artists the henna is best left on the skin for as long as possible before washing off – the longer it is left, the longer the pattern should last. Mehndi artists have their own designs and also improvise using different arrangements of traditional motifs including leaf, Paisley pattern or tear-drop motifs, wavy lines, and dots.


Bangladeshi Mehndi artist at work in Edinburgh
Bangladeshi Mehndi artist at work in Edinburgh

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