Henna is called mehndi in Pakistan. It is from this plant where henna paste is made from. Its leaves are crushed and grounded and mixed with other liquids to make henna paste to stain the skin and form a temporary tattoo. These tattoos last between 2 to 4 weeks or longer. Henna stains appear reddish brown but darken the longer it stays on the skin.
Pakistani mehndi is obviously commonly used in Pakistan. These tattoos are intricately made designs made by professional mehndi artists. They are difficult to create as they require longer time upon application. Compared to the Indian and Arabic mehndi, Pakistani mehndi is the most time-consuming to create. But, it is worth the time because when it is done, people could see the beauty in its intricate and carefully-made designs.
On special occasions, Pakistani mehndi tattooing is used to further enhance the beauty of the Pakistani women. Mehndi tattoos are popularly used in Pakistan during weddings. Similar to Indian weddings, Pakistani weddings that do not have mehndi are said to be incomplete. In their tradition, there is a phase in the wedding ceremony dedicated to mehndi tattooing. On the first day, symbolical henna is applied on the groom’s hands and feet. The second day is celebrated at the bride’s house where she and her friends apply henna on their bodies.
With Pakistani mehndi, the hands and feet of the bride are completely covered with intricately designed henna tattoos. From the hands up to her elbow, and from the feet to her calf muscles, henna is applied without leaving a single spot unfilled.
Mehndi celebrations are the only times when the Pakistani women can beautify themselves. This is because they are not usually allowed to do so lest they be branded as vain. The only other time they are allowed to do such is with the purpose of having to please their husbands as they believe it to be the duty of a wife that is faithful and good.
Pakistani mehndi has a vast array of styles to choose from. Nowadays, they do not limit patterns to the traditional ones. Mehndi artists have incorporated modern designs to their list to provide continuity and variety of the tattoos.