The Truth About The Hen in Your ‘Hen Party’

It’s pretty normal these days for the bride and her cohorts to have a Hen Party – essentially celebrating with a night of partying, some interesting activities or a silly game or two before she finally ties the knot.

But do you know where this tradition comes from, and where it gets the name?

Historically, a ‘Hen Party’ is not named after a gathering of clucking females (like you might assume), but from the reddish brown dye used to decorate hands and faces; Henna. Typically, this practise hails from Asian cultures and that is where the name for our pre-wedding party comes from.

Mehndi is the traditional Indian celebration which includes adorning the bride-to-be’s hands and wrists with a paste made from the henna plant. The paste is left to dry and once the mud-like substance is removed, a deep red imprint remains, which can last about three weeks. It is said that the darker the design imprints on to the skin, the deeper the groom’s love for his bride-to-be is!

…it is traditional to hide the groom’s name somewhere within the design…

Designs are often beautifully ornate; with some elements symbolising things the bride hopes to be during her married life, such as botanical designs to symbolise fertility, and peacocks to signify beauty. Decorating the hands themselves is said to allow the bearer to both offer and receive blessings, and in some cultures, it is traditional to hide the groom’s name somewhere within the design; which he is meant to spot before he is allowed to sleep for the night!

So there’s the history of the hen do – and actually this gives rise for some interesting hen party ideas – why not try a culturally inspired hen do celebration that gives a nod to its origins?

Or, if you’re looking out for other interesting hen ideas, keep checking back for ideas updates and generally useful wedding info here at the SbN blog. Next time we’ll have the history of the Stag Do!

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