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    Temp Tat News — customs

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    5 Things I Love About Henna

    5 Things I Love About Henna

    1. I’m a writer, so I love words. I can write a word I love on my body with henna, and there it will stay for 7-10 days. Like ineffable, which means incapable of being described with words, like life! 
    1. I’m also an author, an art dealer and a freelance museum curator. Creating henna tattoo kits is my day job. I’m so happy that, like my other cherished pursuits, henna body art falls into the creative arts group. 
    1. Curating museum exhibitions and writing books requires research into the history of the subject matter at hand, which I love. Investigating the 5,000-year-old henna body artform brought me such magical knowledge about henna cultures throughout India, Africa and the Middle East! I am richer for it. And speaking of 5,000 years, it occurred to me that I’ve been saying henna is a 5000-year-old artform for about 20 years now. So it’s official, henna is a 5020-year-old artform! 
    1. While we’re on the subject of magic, in case you didn’t know, in all the different countries where henna grows, people believe the plant is infused with magical properties, and that whoever is painted with henna will be gifted with love, luck and prosperity. 
    1. I have witnessed people waiting in line for as long as 4 hours to get a henna tattoo (like at Vidcon last year). No matter how cranky they are by the time their turn comes, they always leave with a smile. Henna makes people happy!

    Henna Rituals and Practices - Part II

    Turkish henna designWhat follows is an ancient Turkish henna ritual, whose symbolism later morphed into the modern wedding ritual, where henna is painted on a bride's hands and feet:

    "Henna-night is a very old ritual, with a history that some believe goes back to the time of prophet Muhammad. According to lore, in the era of the religious wars, Muhammad gathered his followers on the night before the attack. While praying together for victory in Jihad, he would put some henna, an organic dye with a reddish color, into the palms of the soldiers. Henna’s red color symbolized blood and coloring the palms suggested that the warriors were ready to sacrifice their blood and lives in the name of God. According to the myth, this war ritual eventually became a marriage ritual in which the bride symbolically leaves her identity as daughter, centered in her mother’s house, and enters into a new life stage as adult wife whose life is centered around her husband’s family."

    As in the war ritual, the red henna symbolizes the virgin bride's blood, as well as her transformation from girl to woman.

    Excerpted from Consuming Ritual: Reframing the Turkish Henna-Night Ceremony, an in-depth, academic paper on Turkey's new urban iteration of their ancient henna ritual.

    Image courtesy of

    Henna Rituals and Practices - Part I

    Moroccan henna designDepending 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