Also known as henna painting, mehndi is practiced throughout India, Africa and the Middle East, but the earliest evidence of the art form comes from Egypt in roughly 1200 B.C. The ancient Egyptians tended to use henna or mehndi to decorate hair and nails according to Earth Henna.
Mehndi is believed to bring love and good fortune and also protect against evil. It is commonly used for formal occasions such as weddings and celebrations. The crushed leaves of a henna plant are used to make a paste to be applied to the skin. Many hours later the paste is removed, and a design or pattern is left to last for a number of weeks before fading.