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Junior Yasmeen El-Jayyousi shows off her celebratory henna designs.

Henna designs celebrate the end of month long fasting

Junior Yasmeen El-Jayyousi shows off her celebratory henna designs. Photo by Drew Rodgers.

 

After a month of fasting for long days and refraining from bad habits and unacceptable behavior, Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

They dress in their best clothes, eat out and spend time with their friends and families. Young girls, and even some older women, paint intricate designs on their hands with henna, a plant-based dye popular in Eastern countries.

Junior Inas Syed, who had dark, elegant designs painted on her hands, felt henna is a great traditional way to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

“Henna is always just a symbol of happiness,” she said. “Whenever we have really happy events, we always put [on] henna, like at a wedding and a celebration.”

Junior Mubinah Khaleel said that it cements the celebration, because of how carefully it is done and how beautiful the results are.

“My favorite part is the flowers, and the people, whenever they do it they make it look really pretty,” Khaleel said. “Whatever comes to their mind, they just draw it.”

Henna has been used by women for thousands of years. Although no one knows how the tradition first started, one of the earliest examples of it appeared at the time of the Egyptians. Many Egyptian mummies have their hairs and nails stained with a red tone of henna.

Although henna is a very traditional way to express happiness, it is growing in popularity and becoming modernized by colored dyes and embellishments such as gems and temporary tattoos.

Henna is usually seen as a pretty accessory for many girls, but for some, it has a much deeper meaning. Junior Najeebah Hussain believes it brings family members and friends closer, and it makes the celebration more special.

“There are just a lot of people over at my house for Eid,” said Hussain. “My cousin was … was actually the one who did my henna. It’s good for celebrating … while she’s putting it on it gives us a chance to talk.”

 Words by Afsah Khan

 Photos by Drew Rodgers

If you have a picture of your henna, send it to us at our Instagram, rbhsbearingnews.

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1 comment

Maria August 22, 2012 at 7:06 am

🙂 Great story dear! I love the history.

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