At yesterday’s pampering session I had the fun of having a henna design drawn on my hand.
Henna is a reddish-orange dye prepared from the leaves of the Lawsonia inermis tree. It’s traditionally used in Asia, especially India, to adorn women’s bodies for celebrations. The earliest text mentioning henna in the context of marriage and fertility celebrations comes from the legend of Baal and Anath (early bronze age, c. 2,500-1,500 BC) which refers to women marking themselves with henna in preparation for meeting their husbands, and Anath adorning herself with henna to celebrate a victory over the enemies of Baal. Many statuettes of young women dating between 1500 and 500 BCE along the Mediterranean coastline have raised hands with markings consistent with henna. This early connection between young, fertile women and henna seems to be the origin of the Night of the Henna, which is now celebrated worldwide, where the bride, and often the groom, are adorned with henna.
Our group all loved our designs, which were drawn by Sathya John of Tamil Henna. This morning a young man serving in a cafe said to me “I love your hand. It’s so pretty.”, and the sales assistant in Ballantynes called her colleague over to admire my hand.
“The henna shows up in contrast
I wonder how long it will last?”