November 16, 2016

Today I attended Mehndi night as part of OU India Society’s annual India week celebration. If I am being honest, I did not really know about the event nor had any interest in going, but I am glad that one of my best friends from high school convinced me to go. For those of you that do not know, Mehndi is a paste that is created from the powdered leaf of the henna plant and is made into designs for men and women. Mehndi is more commonly referred to as Henna and is gaining popularity in the United States. In India, as a part of Hindu and Sikh weddings, mehndi is applied during wedding ceremonies. Traditionally it is thought that the darker the henna on the bride’s hand, the more intensely her husband will love her. It is an important part of many Hindu festivals (such as Karva Chauth and Diwali), as well as during Eid. It is widely used in south Indian state Kerala especially during Muslim weddings. It is a common practice among Indians, particularly elderly ones, to dye their hair using Henna. While I did not see anyone daring enough to dye their hair with it, I did see some beautiful, artistically crafted designs. I also saw some that were….not so much. The nice thing about using mehndi was that it was not permanent and would come off within a week or two. I am really happy that I got a chance to attend at least one India Week event, and I am glad to have made lasting friendships there. It really was interesting the turnout to the event, considering many people did not know much about what it was specifically, and I definitely like the way that OU India Society promoted the event as a public event allowing anyone with even the slightest interest to go and feel welcome. I know that next semester I will definitely be attending more of OU India Society’s public events because they are different from others, and you can really learn a lot about other cultures in the process.

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