These henna designs were applied by Suhayr, a wonderful friend of my eldest daughter.
The subject of hana bandan seems somewhat obscure in our culture and there's little information available about it. After some research and inquiry, a good friend of mine gave me a copy of the hana-bandan page from Mahmud Katiraie's book, "Khest ta Khesht," which is written in Persian and is about Iranian culture, traditions and folklore. According to the author, the day before the wedding the groom's family sends over the khoncheh (large wooden tray) of henna to the bride's home. Khoncheh would carry the seven brass or silver bowls of freshly prepared henna adorned with silver and gold coins surrounded by different colored lit candles. The henna designs would include the images of a sparrow, tree or a flower. Iranian henna designs are simple and not very elaborate and intricate.
Boy Holding a Falcon, Iran, Late 18th century, Qajar Dynasty, Hermitage Museum
'The Shirin Painter,' A girl acrobat balancing on a knife, c. 1840 (Source)
Probably by Mahammad Hasan, period of Fath 'Ali Shah, A mother and child with parrot (Source)
Nighttime in a Palace, Iran, 16th century , Harvard University Art Museum
I had never attended a henna ceremony in the past. However, my experience with henna goes back to my childhood growing up in the south of Iran. Every summer, my mother who was a huge fan of henna would apply henna throughout my hair and would leave it for several hours before washing it during those hot summer days. She believed using henna would nourish the hair and the scalp and work as a natural hair conditioner. On the day that I was packing to leave for America she tucked some henna into a canvas bag and placed it in my suitcase filled with the things that I thought I wouldn't be able to find here.