Photo Credit: Nandu Chitnis
Photo Credit: Nandu Chitnis

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Henna, which has been playing a vital role in Hindu weddings since ancient times, is becoming popular with Hollywood and other celebrities.

Also known as mehndi, it is turning into an in-thing with celebrities as a trendy alternative to traditional tattoos. Although the final result is similar to tattoo, but the mehndi experience is delightful and painless, and the images are temporary, according to acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed.

Starting with actress Demi Moore and singer Gwen Stefani, many celebrities have been seen sporting this body art, including entertainer Madonna; actresses Drew Barrymore, Daryl Hannah, Angela Bassett, Laura Dern, Kathleen Robertson, Mira Sorvino, Naomi Campbell, Trudie Styler, Nicole Eggert, Justine Bateman, Yasmine Bleeth, Liv Tyler, and Barbara Hershey; musicians The Artist Formerly Known as Prince and Sting; singers Mayte Garcia and Erykah Badu; actors Elijah Wood and Laurence Fishburne; boxers Kassim Ouma, Michael Katsidis, and Bernard Hopkins; model Nell McAndrew; etc.

Associated with joy, celebration, festivals, and weddings, it has a recent renaissance in Hollywood. Some popular magazines and CD covers had been decorated with henna art, besides it being seen in some Hollywood movies.

Many henna themed parties involving celebrities, including birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, nightclub events, are sometimes held in Hollywood.

Henna/Hina has reportedly been used for body art and hair dye since Bronze Age. It finds references in India’s court records dating back to around 400 CE, in Rome during Roman Empire, in Spain during Convivienca, in medical texts of Ebers Papyrus, in Syria and Egypt in 14th century CE, etc.

Henna/mehndi as a ceremonial art form is said to have originated in ancient India. It can last anywhere from few days to few months depending on the type of the paste. Mehndi plays a vital role in Hindu wedding and practically no marriage is considered complete without it. During earlier times, some bridal mehndi processes took four to five days to complete. It is also applied during various Hindu vrats (fasts), like Karvachauth.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged the henna loving celebrities to explore some rich philosophical thought of Hinduism, which is oldest religion of the world with moksha (liberation) as ultimate goal.