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kate & raj: days 1 & 2: the mehendi and haldi pre-wedding ceremonies

First the Mehendi, where henna is applied to the hands and feet (arms too!) of the bride and then she sits and waits until it hardens to a crust, is moistened with lemon juice and left to dry and harden again. The goal here is to get it very dark–apparently, the darker the henna designs, the more sustaining the marriage. Kate shows some of her super-powers here. I don’t know if you’ve ever held your own arms up in the air for hours on end, but I actually have–and it is not an easy thing. Not by a longshot.

Later on, a Mehendi party is held wherein Kate & Raj’s moms, sisters, neices, aunts, girl-friends and all other female invitees get to hold out their hands for some exquisite henna artistry.

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Then the Haldi. This is specifically a Bengali tradition, where the mother of the groom creates a paste out of turmeric, rubs some into the face of her son, and then offers it out to everyone in attendance, to do the same. Once the groom is successfully turned into a yellow-faced man, the paste (specifically the same paste, in the same container) is passed from the groom’s mother to the bride’s mother, who then similarly smears it onto her daughter’s face and then offers it out to the guests again for their willing participation.┬áTurmeric is known to cleanse, soften and brighten the skin.

So fun, if not a little bit scary for a fair-skinned bride.

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…and here’s a few of the bride’s devoted friends giving her a sugar scrub afterwards:

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