Depending on the country, henna customs vary wildly. Here is the first in an occasional series on henna rituals and customs, as practiced in India, Africa and throughout the Middle East.
Pregnant Moroccan women in their seventh month seek out well-respected henna practitioners called hannayas in order to have certain symbols painted on their ankle, which will then be encircled with a corresponding amulet. The henna and the amulet are meant to protect both the mother and child through birth. Once the baby is born and the umbilical cord severed, a plaster of henna, water, and flour is placed on the newborn's belly button in order to ensure beauty and wealth.
Photo by Lalla Essaydi, marrakech Xanthe pat blog