There are many fascinating wedding traditions across the African continent and one of the most stunningly beautiful is ceremonial henna.
In Kenya, the bride is bathed in sandalwood oils and henna is applied to her limbs. This photo, from Natural Geographic, is of a hennaed Swahili Bride in Kenya;
A Swahili wedding is filled with rituals designed to beautify the bride and heighten the senses. Before her wedding, Fatima has designs drawn on her limbs with twigs dipped in henna.
In Nigeria, applying henna is considered to be an integral part of the wedding ceremony and said application typically lasts 2 weeks, serving as an indicator of the couple’s love. The henna is also said to bring good luck. While the bride has the henna on her hands, she is not obligated to do housework and is pampered as the new bride in the family.
Henna’ is an art form that has been transformed from traditional adornment to fit into the current fashion trend; it is made from herbs, which means it is all natural. The powder is extracted from a ‘henna’ plant, where the leaves are dried and grounded into a fine powder. This powder would then be mixed with water, eucalyptus oil, tea, coffee, and lime and then applied on the body. ‘Henna’ is used to create temporary tattoos mainly on the hands and feet of a woman. People usually choose areas that are visible — the palm, arm, feet, wrist or around the navel. There are different designs and patterns that can be intricately displayed on a woman’s hand.
Gorgeous! For even more designs, check this video;