When I think about henna I remember my younger days in India with my friends and family when we would wear colorful new clothes apply henna. It was a time to relax and listen to music, play games, talk, and push each other higher and higher on the swings. Thus, when I go for a demonstration or I am called for a wedding, I enjoy dressing in colorful traditional outfits to remind myself and others that it is a celebration. Life is too short - so just enjoy it. The intricate designs implies the complication of life, but also show how at the same time the life is beautiful.
Henna is an art form that traditionally has been practiced for centuries by women artisans throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and India. It is common bridal adornment in Hindu, Muslim, and Sephardic cultures. Traditionally, people apply henna at weddings and other special ceremonies.
Henna is derived from a plant of the same name known for the reddish color of its extract, often used in hair coloring. A paste is made by grinding the leaves into a fine powder. This paste is piped on to the hands and feet in delicate patterns, in a manner similar to cake decorating. The paste dries quickly, within 20 minutes. However, it is a good idea to keep the dried paste on the skin for at least three or four hours. Then, once the paste is scraped off, it will leave the patterned stain behind. Also, the longer you can avoid washing the area of application (up to 12 hours), the darker the stain will get. The stains can last up to 3 weeks on the skin, but they slowly fade away. Henna can be applied almost any where on the body, but the hands and the feet are the areas which allow for the darkest stain.
The designs are stylized and derived from nature, animals, and religious stories. Some designs may have symbolic meanings, while others are simply decorative. Henna painting in its true traditional form is an improvisational and creative art. Each creation is an original and spontaneous work.
Henna has a soothing, relaxing effect. It cools the body and is often applied in hot weather. It has been used for medicinal purposes as an antiseptic, astringent, antiperspirant, and to treat skin conditions. It is also used to condition and dye the hair. Aside from its cosmetic or medicinal functions, henna has long been used to dye leather and cloth as well as the hooves and manes of horses.
Shakuntala Design provides henna services for a variety of special occasions and events throughout the Midwest. We participate in a variety of community festivals such as: Taste of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN), Festival of Nations (St. Paul, MN), Coffee Festival (Willmar, MN), and a variety of International Festivals at local schools, libraries, and community colleges. We also provide henna services for birthday parties, weddings, showers, Bat Mitzvahs, and other special occasions.
See the calendar of upcoming events.