Mehndi
Mehndi is the application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration. Henna is a small bush that produces a red dye that has been used cosmetically and medicinally for over 9,000 years.

Many countries including Morocco and India have traditions of applying henna during the third trimester of pregnancy. Henna is believed to protect and bless the mother and child from any evil or malicious spirits that may be near during delivery.

The red coloring of the dye and protective images used in the patterns guard against the evil eye and are thought to protect the pair during the child’s difficult passage into this world. Special attention is given to the hands and especially the feet as they are considered to be vulnerable connections to the world.

As henna is being incorporated into modern culture, new traditions are being created. One new way women are using henna is to decorate the belly during pregnancy. This is a wonderful way to celebrate the body’s physical changes during pregnancy and embrace this special time. Baby showers, blessingways and henna parties can be combined into a day of pampering and relaxation for the new expectant mom, her friends, and family.

Designs usually last 7-10 days, depending on body chemistry, how long the paste was allowed to soak in, and location on the body.