Monday, October 29, 2012

Henna Designs

A couple weeks ago, I chaperoned a 7th grade field trip to the Renaissance Festival. Falconry and fun, fun, fun.

The boys grabbed a bite to eat and sat down to watch the acrobats. The stage happened to be right next to a henna booth, so I... kept one eye on the kids and ran off to get a design on my arm. It takes all of two minutes to get a small one done.

Now, when I lived in Abu Dhabi, I used to have henna on my hands and feet. Roses and scrolls, and all lovely sorts of flowers. That took a long time to dry. I keep things a little more discrete here in NC- just in case.

I picked a small dragon and the artist applied the design where long sleeves would hide the whole thing. Henna only lasts two weeks anyway. (This design is a couple of inches, enlarged here for detail.)

My sleeve rolled up, I went back to the boys.

Darling son rolls his eyes at me.

His friend says "Ooo. How much was that? I want one."

Chaperone Me cringes. : "What if your parents don't like it?" Maybe I shouldn't have said that. I think I sealed the deal.

Two of them run off to get designs done. One gets the same design as mine. The other selects a scary six-inch dragon. Claws and all - it looked ginormous on that small boy. I had a flash to the future where he is covered in ink. And I hope the parents don't hate me for it, but really - if that's what he wants, someday he's going to get it done. Right? (Help me here. I feel a little bit guilty.)

As they sat waiting for the precious design to dry, boy number one asked me - "How is henna part of the Renaissance?" This kid is thinking tattoos are a new thing - I can see it in his eyes.

Hmm. "Well - Remember the Crusaders from the middle ages? They went east and lots of ideas came back with them. During the Renaissance, there was trade with the east. And henna is a very old art. Older than the Renaissance."


From my previous posts you know, in the east, henna is mostly used for celebrations like weddings or feast days now. It originated in the fields, where women dyed their hands as a protection from the harsh work of the harvest.

This is my first ever ejderha - dragon design. In Turkey, and in many other eastern cultures, the use of animal designs is frowned upon or even forbidden. This stems from a firm stance against idolatry. 

Some beduoins tattoo themselves with black tribal markings, but I like henna (aka kına or mehndi) because it's temporary. Next time I can get something else that suits my fancy. Ink is too permanent for me.


Old Kitty said...

It's beautiful.

Oh I love henna designs. When my friend married, her arms and feet were covered in these gorgeous henna designs - so so stunning! Take care

Sarah said...

How cool! And a nice way to decorate yourself in a way that isn't permanent--that's why I've never taken the plunge with tattoos.

Hart Johnson said...

I love the henna designs. I particularly love the Indian stuff that looks like fancy lace on the hands and feet, but I love the idea of it for 'temporary tattoos' too. Very cute!

LTM said...

TOO COOL, and wow! So you couldn't get animals b/c of idolatry. Interesting...

I like the way it looks when it's first applied all swirly on the hands and feet. But it seems like it'd be hard to do anything w/your hands all covered in henna--? (the first part)

neat-o~ <3

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Sounds like an intriguing story, but as I was reading your post, I was thinking ... THIS is YA? HA! Glad you cleared that up. Good luck to Leigh for a successful launch. said...

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