Moroccan Henna

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Henna

A couple years ago we were invited to a wedding in Tangier. We didn’t actually know the bride or the groom, but we were invited by the bride’s niece.

The wedding celebration lasted three days, and we stayed with their family the whole time. The first day the women got henna done on their arms.

Henna comes from the henna plant and is ground into a fine greenish powder. It is then mixed into a paste and applied in floral or geometric designs onto the skin. It stains the skin a dark orange and is used mostly for weddings or other celebrations.

On the second day of the wedding the bride was paraded through the streets in a palanquin on top of a horse. As we walked, people sang and danced and clapped their hands. Neighbors looked out from their windows and watched from their roofs.

Along the side of the street I saw two girls playing with henna. They were little, but already quite capable of doing the designs for each other. They were so intent on their henna that they seemed oblivious to the people passing by. They were in their own little world, delicately swirling the henna onto each other’s hands, careful to avoid smudging the designs.

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