If anyone follows Twitter Tuesday’s popular hashtag is #traveltuesday. I decided to incorporate this into my posting schedule and dedicate Tuesday’s to all about Morocco day. I’m going to start the ball rolling today with a post about henna. From my first visit having henna done was something that I began to associate with Morocco. Usually visits coincided with a celebration (the normal reason for having henna done) but even if there was no celebration I always had it done before coming back to the States. It’s really very relaxing and I’m stuck waiting for it to dry sitting down – no getting up or wiggling fingers. (Like a mini vacation for me!)
So here I am with my hands done. This was for my husband and my wedding party in Morocco. This time there was a lot more henna in a very intricate design. Different designs have different meanings and different regions have different designs. There are also three colors of henna, a black version, a dark brown version and a red version. I’ve been told there is an additive of some sort mixed into henna sometimes to make the color last longer. Word to my light skinned friends who might have this done in Morocco- make sure there’s no additive. It really penetrates into light skin and can take much much longer to wear off.
Here you can see on my right hand some henna that I had done on my first visit to Morocco. (ps that’s the husband next to me ;)). Not a great pic but it’s all I’ve got! This was done by a local woman in djem al fna for about $10 USD (in 2004).
Did I mention it’s usually both hands and feet that are decorated. This time it was for my engagement party. A very nice floral and leaves pattern. This up close photo makes it easier to see. The paste is green when it goes on and a thick paste. You have to sit still and let it dry – usually about 2 hours but the longer you can leave it the better. This night my feet and hands were wrapped and in the morning, the dry part of the paste was scraped off. The longer you leave the paste on the darker the design will be and the longer it will stay.
- Locals know best – seriously. There are women in the community who families hire to do henna for their parties. That’s who you want to do your henna. They know what they are doing and are good and fast! If you’re staying in a riad ask the owners if they can get someone to do the henna for you. If you’re staying in a hotel ask the concierge.
- If you feel like you paid a good price you did. Just like with any purchase in a bargaining economy, don’t feel cheated if you find out someone had henna done cheaper than you. If you feel you paid a fair price for the work – you did.
- If you don’t have any connections to have henna done, ask at an herbalist in the markets. Herbalists sell traditional medicine and can help find you someone to do henna for you.