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    Temp Tat News — Morocco

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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 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

    Remembering My First Visit To The Henna Fields Of Morocco

    MoroccoIt was my first time meeting the family of farmers who harvest the henna found in our Earth Henna kits. You have likely not experienced “desert dry” until you’ve been to the outer reaches of the Sahara, aka The Great Desert. A hot wind was blowing like crazy, making it nearly impossible to see, bringing new meaning to the term “dry eyes.” Being in this climate made me understand why desert people dress the way they do. Wearing sundresses or shorts and sandals doesn’t really work in that kind of heat. Bring on the kaftans. You need to cover up!

    When my husband and I arrived at our farmer’s humble home, we were told that we were the second guests they ever had in their lives! They had invited us to stay with them, and we planned to spend the night. Being the primary purchasers of their annual harvest, we were Very Important Guests, indeed, and they treated us like royalty—much to my consternation. We arrived around lunchtime, and they rolled out the delicacies, which involved a lot of meat. At dinner, a savory lamb stew was served. The next morning, chicken graced the menu. I realized that if we didn’t get out of there fast, we would bankrupt them! Economic hardship is the meal of the day for this family. When I asked where the toilet was, I was taken to a small bush out in the desert and given a roll of toilet paper; and I was happy for the toilet paper!

    But no matter the awe-inspiring landscape of my new and fascinating surroundings, what I was most excited about was the opportunity to get a traditional Moroccan henna session with the family matriarch.

    Out in the desert, where henna’s cooling properties come in very handy, they don’t bother with fancy designs. The palms and soles of the feet are simply covered with henna, leaving you with what I always thought was the dopest look: red hands and feet. Kind of subversive and too cool for words.

    She had me lie down on a narrow cot, and using her own hands as a brush, proceeded to lovingly apply her homemade henna paste to my hands and feet. Afterwards, she wrapped them in toilet paper and for the next six hours, I had to be fed and carried like a total princess!

    When we got back to town the next day, a guy in the marketplace noticed my red hands and said to me, “Oh, just like the old ladies do it.” Yes, sir. Just the way I like it!