The allure of ‘Heena art’ used traditionally for skin decoration continues to remain popular even in modern times and this tradition sees an upsurge during festivals like Karva Chauth, Diwali and Eid.
Karva Chauth, a festival in which married women fast for their husbands’ long lives, has become a shopkeeper’s delight. The day long festival is celebrated in north India where married women observe a day-long fast for the longevity of their husbands. They decorate their hands and feet with Mehndi.
But with Bollywood songs and movies lending the festivities a glamorous touch over the years, portraying the practice as the ultimate declaration of love, many women are often happy to spend big in preparation. The result is extensive indulgence in new designer clothes, jewellery, trips to the salon and henna tattoos.
This has altered the budgets of many households, as henna artists can be seen making the most of Karva Chauth this season.
For Aarushi Gupta, who got married recently, this is the first Karva Chauth post-marriage and to make it special preparations began weeks ago.
“I have prepared three new dresses meant for different rituals to be performed through the day,” the 32-year-old Aarushi said. “For the evening Pooja, I will go to the salon to do my hair and make-up.” “I have done almost everything that I was supposed to do. Now I am waiting to see what my husband gets for me,” shared Aarushi with a sparkle in her eyes.
On the other hand, Henna artists are also fully prepared with their team to encash the festival. Ram Kumar a henna artist knowing well what to expect for Karva Chauth, is prepared with his team of 10 artists who are ready to work non-stop until 11:30 PM during these two days.
For these henna artists, this festival means big business.
“On other days, we charge around Rs100 per hand, but this week, we have charged Rs 500 and above,” said Kumar, who runs a stall in the busy Fattu Chaughan market in old city.
“The cost of henna application varies according to designs,” said Ram Kumar.
Among the varieties of henna designs being offered in city markets, it is the colourful Arabic design which seems to have caught the attention of a majority of the women this year. This latest design, which hit city markets this year only, has also generated a lot of income for artists as it costs over Rs 1,500 per hand.
The other varieties of designs available for henna application include the Marwari style, Rajasthani Mehndi and the Kumar style (blend of all designs). The cost of these designs ranges between Rs 500 and Rs 1,500 per hand.
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