Henna in Arab countries and India

Categories: Body ArtIndia

Henna is a type of temporary tattoo that dyes the skin for several weeks. Henna is made out of a plant that is dried, ground to a dust and then made in to a paste by adding essential oils. Henna got its start in the Arab culture and remains popular to this day and growing in popularity in other countries. The paste that is made is placed into a cone or bag that closely resembles that used by cake decorators. The paste is applied to the skin in intricate designs and as it dries and hardens it begins to fall off leaving behind an orange tint.

Designs made from henna are completely free form and have no specific meaning and are meant for the sheer beauty of the art with no religious or cultural meaning. The henna tattoo can consist of nearly any pattern or series of patterns and the more elaborate the design the more erotic and sensual it is.

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Henna is made primarily of several design styles which include flowers, paisley designs, intricate lines, shading and doily designs. These patterns can wrap around your fingers, wrist, ankle or any other curved part of your body.

Henna in the Arab World

Permanent tattoos in the Muslim world are greatly frowned upon, which makes henna a very popular alternative that dates back hundreds of years and is steeped in tradition. Henna makes it easy to get a tattoo without it being against Muslim traditions, since they only last a few weeks.

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These beautifully intricate designs are applied mainly to young women to glamorize themselves (older women will also sometimes wear henna) to their husbands after their wedding and during the ceremony.

Arabic Henna throughout the World

Henna can be seen in countries all around the globe despite its roots being firmly planted in the Middle East existing in India, Egypt, Pakistan, and Morocco among just a few. The typical style in the originating country is that of large floral patterns painted all over the body, but as the design spreads it changes to meet the needs of the people. The United States, for instance, has taken henna and made it into pure skin decoration. Unlike the Middle East, the main reason to get henna is for show and not some profound meaning. The sentimental factors involved have been removed and what’s left is something very basic and watered down. Henna done at the circus, carnivals and Renaissance fairs are just several examples of western style henna.

I went to (global village) in Indian village to meet some women’s who knows more about the henna and I had an interview with an old lady that work there in henna shop she’s Indian: (Me): Could you tell us a bit about the tradition of henna and how it has transformed into a popular body art? (Old lady): Henna has been used down through the ages for thousands of years. Inscriptions place henna in use in Syria as early as 2100 BCE and in the Greek Islands from around 1700 BCE. Henna has usually been utilized with cultures that have a history of Goddess worship. Henna was relatively unknown ten years ago, and it has become more popular with women here in California and around the world.

The art of henna is amazing, and now it can be embellished with jewels and glitter to make it sparkle and coordinate with your clothes. Women of all ages use henna for celebrations, and the art has improved and become more popular than ever before through word of mouth and the Internet. (Me): What exactly is henna dye, and what are the ingredients? (Old lady): Henna is the Persian name for a shrub known scientifically as Lawsonia Inermis. It is harvested twice a year, dried and ground into a fine powder. The powder is used to dye hair red and for the ancient eastern art of mehndi. The henna tannic acid is a natural safe vegetable dye that bonds with the collagen in your skin cells and the keratin in the hair leaving a lovely color.

(Me): Is henna dye available in different colors or levels of intensity? (Old lady): Different colors or levels of intensity are achieved in several ways. Henna can be steamed on the skin to darken it, or it can be left on for different lengths of time to get darker and lighter stains. Henna will be a shade of red/brown. There are no other safe dyes and henna does not come in black or blue.

Allergies Are Rare

(Me): Should you test for an allergic reaction prior to applying henna dye to the skin? (Old lady): You can test for henna sensitivity although it is extremely rare. If you use 100% natural henna mixed with safe oils and lemon juice, there is little to no chance of an allergic reaction. If you suspect a henna allergy, please do not apply the henna and be sure to also test for citrus allergies.

(me): Even though henna art is temporary, how long should the tattoo last? (Old lady): Henna typically lasts seven to ten days. However, it can last longer than that depending on several variables such as where the henna is placed on the body, how long the henna is on the skin, if the skin is clean, and if the essential oils and henna are good quality. (Me): Could you explain the difference between Indian style designs and Arabic style henna? (Old lady): Indian styles of henna are usually filled with lacy paisleys or flowers and everyday shapes from daily Indian life such as the mango and the peacock. Arabic style is usually a large floral that will have more open space, and the designs will not have a motif like faces or peacocks.

Both styles of henna are amazingly beautiful. (me): Is it easy to apply henna yourself? What’s the process? ((Old lady): If you want to apply the henna yourself, you can purchase paste already made or mix it yourself. Henna Caravan sells henna ready to use inside applicator bottles and our Create kits let you mix your own. Which ever you choose, all you have to do is: * Fill your applicator, clean the skin and you are ready to begin. * After the paste is applied, leave the henna on the skin for four to six hours and scrape it off leaving the dyed skin. * The stain will continue to darken over the next 36 hours, and you will have great henna.

Tools and Supplies

(Me): What tools and implements are needed to create a henna tattoo? (Old lady): You can use a hand rolled cone, a jacquard applicator bottle or other bottle to apply henna. Henna has been applied with sticks, rolled into strings and pressed on the skin, taped areas or stencils and paintbrushes may also be used. (me): Are there any starter kits that are a good investment for a beginning henna artist? (Old lady): I think the Henna Caravan kit is a perfect beginner kit. It comes complete with everything you need to have a successful henna experience – bottles, premium henna, wonderful essential oils and all the tool and tips and patterns to get you started. The jacquard bottle is easy to refill. (me): What rituals or occasions are most popular for henna art? (Old lady): In our experience birthday parties are most popular for every age along with graduation parties and Bar/Bat mitzvahs, Blessing ways are also great fun and so relaxing for everyone.

(Me): Summer is a great time of year to flaunt a henna tattoo. If someone is on the fence but wants to experiment with their first henna design, what’s your favorite placement and artwork style? (Old lady): Get something you like whether it is flowers or skulls or geometric patterns, and put it on your ankle or up the leg. If you want more, just repeat the pattern; make three flowers instead of one, so it flows on the body. (Me): Why are some henna darker than others?

(Old lady): Mostly this depends on how the henna has been stored. Henna leaves plucked straight off the plant will leave the darkest stain. Leaves that have been powdered need to be carefully preserved; powdered henna that is kept cold in an airtight container is best in my experience.

Henna has, today, become a part of all major festivals and celebration. Be it, Purim, Eid, Diwali, Karva Chauth, Passover, Nowruz or Mawlid, it has graced every occasion with its presence. Celebrations like wedding, birth of a baby and birthdays seem to be incomplete without the ceremony of henna. Brides, in the present time, typically have the most complex patterns of henna, to express their greatest joy and wishes for luck. With an improved technology being used for its cultivation, henna available today, has an enhanced dye content and greater artistic potential than earlier.

Cite this page

Henna in Arab countries and India. (2017, Jan 04). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/henna-in-arab-countries-and-india-essay

Henna in Arab countries and India

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