25 November, 2016
caught red handed.
No, I am not describing the colours of my mood ring.
I am describing the colour of my hands in last 5 days.
For the past 8 weeks, every morning, I have been having a mixture of turmeric and almond milk (apparently makes your complexion glow – great wedding prep ). When I told my mum about my new beverage of choice – she laughed in my face; “hahaha Nix!!! indians have been drinking that for hundreds of years it is called ‘haldi tooth’, it will give you a glowing complexion..all these hipsters now calling it ‘turmeric latte”. Thank you for the insight mum.
Anyways, I have started to notice my palms (and soles of my feet) have started to turn a yellowish colour. I wonder if I have been over doing the turmeric
My latest addition in my lunch salad or sandwiches is grated beetroot (apparently high in vitamin c and I need to keep my immunity high – great wedding prep). The problem is the beetroot stains my hands. After eating lunch, it looks like I have either murdered someone or decided to (hand)mulch some grapes into wine. Despite scrubbing…that pinkish stain just seems to linger. Maybe I should wear gloves.
Ok, so I am currently OBSESSED with raw cacao bliss balls. I am not even exaggerating when I say I have atleast x4 a day (apparently better for you than chocolate – great wedding prep). Ever since I won my K-cook (thermomix’s poor cousin- but just as great!), I have been on a bliss ball binge. I can’t get enough. Neither can my hands. They seem to be regularly covered in chocolate and are always brown.
Yes, I know – they are always brown (on the outside), but I mean the palms.
So my sisters and mum had an intervention with me last week; “Nix, you need to fix your hands – they are always so dirty”, ‘Eeewww Nix, why are your hands yellow, you need to make sure they are soft and supple for the wedding”. And so it went on.
Forget my face.
It is my hands (and feet…) that need some wedding prep. All indian brides apparently should ‘know’ this. And do you want to know why hands are so important?
Mehendi. Henna. Indian hand tattoo.
Between the bollywood dancing and delicious indian sweets, there is one hindu pre-wedding ceremony which I am especially excited about – the mehendi ki rant (also known as the henna night).
For years, I have watched on with envy as my cousins and family friends get their bridal henna applied…but now it is my turn!!! I love the smell of the mehendi it is so earthy and sweet (it just makes you want to lick your hands…ok, maybe that is just me..)
Admittedly, I do hate it when it starts to fade and look like some sort of rare skin condition…lucky for me…I can wear gloves on my honeymoon as I will be in a sub-degree environment #patagonia.
My arms, hands, fingers, feet, shins and toes will be covered in intricate designs.
Finally…. my hands are going to be covered in colour….deliberately.
In all honesty, I have always thought mendhi was purely decorative and a bit of pre-wedding fun. However, after some research – I have realised that this is not the case. It is a tradition with deep-rooted cultural significance. I learnt that it is one of the oldest Indian traditions dating back to Hindu Vedic time and is entered around the idea of “awakening the inner light” as it is intended to be a symbolic representation of the outer and the inner sun.
(Side note: mehendi is actually a small tropical shrub, whose leaves when dried and groin into a paste give a rusty-red pigment. It is also know for its medicinal properties and has a cooling effect that aids in soothing stress and headaches – PERFECT for dealing with indian aunties & wedding stress).
Mehendi represents the bond of matrimony and is therefore, considered a sign of good luck. It signifies the love and affection between the couple and their families. Here are some other fun facts I learnt about it:
The darkness of the mehendi colour on a bride’s hand represents the deep love between the would-be-couple (from experience – it also helps if you don’t get impatience and pick it off it is drying….I once did that, it went pale orange…).
The longer the mehendi retains its colour, the more auspicious it is for the newlyweds (I ain’t gonna wash my hands for dayyyyss…jokes).
Mehendi is deemed to be a symbolic representation of fertility (if this is the case, I am sure mum will make me cover my face in it…)
MY FAVOURITE FACT: within the intricate design of the bride’s mehendi, the groom’s name or his initials are also hidden. During the post-wedding ceremonies, the groom has to find his initials in the bride’s hands. This traditionally used as a fun ice-breaking game for the couple…..which ‘back in the day’ helped them establish some ‘intimacy’.
I love the whole concept of the mehendi night the way we still get to uphold traditional rituals in our modern day context. I love the the spirit of female bonding and pre-wedding sisterhood is still as significant today as it was five thousand years ago, and is likely to continue to remain significant for centuries to come!
So there you have it… in less than 10 days time – my hands (and feet) are going to be COVERED in elaborate designs.
Here is some mehendi inspiration just to give you an idea of what is about to adorn my arms and legs….
(image via viyahshadinikah)
(image via happywedd)
(image via hennaart)
(image via my shabbylittlelife)
(image via pawanmehandiwala)
(image via livingly)
(image via big indian wedding)
(image via maharani weddings)
(image via fenzyme)
OK, I am off to go moisturise my hands 🙂 Seriously. And get ready….today the WEDDING ‘KIX’ OFF…..