|Clockwise from top: Angela (the bride), her mother Mary, her sister Sarah, her friend Kellie, and her step-mother Cori.|
I love this photo from my niece's wedding in Mumbai, India. I love it partly because the mehndi looks so fun, and the patterns are so interesting. And I love it because it represents a celebration by these women of a cultural custom that none of these women where born into.
Mehndi is the application of henna in elaborate designs on the hands, and in the case of the bride, on the feet. It is commonly done for weddings, but also for childbirth. Some believe the deeper the red color the greater the love in the marriage, and the better the bond between the bride and her mother-in-law. The bride also doesn't have to do housework until the mehndi fades, usually in two or three weeks. Sometimes the groom's name or initials are hidden in the pattern and he is tasked with finding them.
Last year my niece, Angela, and her husband Suhail married in New York. This spring they had a wedding in India. I wasn't able to go but several of my family members went.
Weddings in India take place over several days. Suhail's family hired professionals to apply the mehndi. Here is Angela getting started with her mehndi. The henna is in paste form, and looks very dark until the paste flakes off hours later. Then the patterns are dark red in color.
|Left: my sister-in-law Mary, and my niece Sarah on the right|
Here is Angela with the finished design. It is very dark because the paste is still on. She's so beautiful. And isn't her jewelry beautiful and interesting? I want to find out more about the history of this jewelry. It resembles in design the jewelry often shown on Kwan Yin. I've been unsuccessful in my quest to find out about Kwan Yin's jewelry.
|Suhail and Angela|
Here's the bride and groom. You can get a peek at the mehndi on her feet in this photo.
|My brother Lee, Angela's father.|
My brother Lee and Angela were the only two blue eyed people at the wedding. There was a lot of interest in their eye color. This red dress is the wedding dress. I wish I had a better picture of the skirt. It is very elaborate and gorgeous. My brother is wearing traditional dress here. All the members of my family wore traditional Indian dress during the wedding.
|Family members. My sister-in-law, Cori, second from left, took many of these photos.|
|The happy bride and groom--Suhail and Angela.|
Here is the bride and groom on the wedding day. We're so happy to have Suhail in the family.