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Let’s start the week dedicated to Morocco with one of the fixed elements in every wedding: henna. Derived from a powder of leaves, this tincture still colors hands and feet, transforming them into real temporary works of art.
Henna is obtained from the leaf dust of Lawsonia inermis, a plant that has grown since the dawn of time in much of the Middle East and North Africa. It seems that the Saharan and Mesopotamian populations were the first to use it, a treatment, moreover, reserved only for kings and priests, moreover exclusive of particular situations. In general, however, its use spread more and more throughout the south-eastern Mediterranean, so much so that since the late Bronze Age it spread throughout the area.
Over time, however, this practice became increasingly popular within the Islamic world, being greatly facilitated by the presence of the prophet Muhammad. The latter, in fact, recommended the application of henna hair dyes for men, as well as favoring “tattoos” with henna for women. This allowed an increasingly massive use even in areas where, at least historically, Lawsonia does not grow, thus becoming characteristic of most of the Muslim weddings.
One of the places where this tradition still lives strongly is definitely Morocco, a place where it connects above all to the “moments of passage”. The auspicious function is in fact particularly strong, binding to every situation so important as to require luck. This has meant that over time it became a real profession, present almost everywhere and mainly for women.
Even in Morocco, however, weddings are the true principles of henna, which have a full day dedicated to the decoration of the bride. The tradition was probably rooted even more in this land by the large presence of Mizrahi Jews, who historically make it widely used, in addition to the already present tattoo tradition, typical of the Amazigh culture.
P.s. the one with the henna is not a “real tattoo”, as everything vanishes in 10-15 days. Follow us on our facebook page, Spotify, YouTube and Instagram, or on our Telegram channel. Any like, sharing or support is welcome and helps us to devote ourselves more and more to our passion: telling the Middle East