Traditional Henna in Morocco

Traditional Henna in Morocco

The word “Henna” in Arabic means red. Many people in Morocco refer to it with another word – “mehndi”. This is the name of the shrub from which henna is being derived and is also the name for the art of tattooing. If you see a young girl with henna in Morocco applied on her hands and legs, this most likely means that she has married recently. These beautiful tattoos are part of the premarital ritual. One or two days before the wedding, each future bride reunites with female relatives and friends for the so called “mehndi night”. It’s a must that a skilled henna craftsman be present to the gathering.

Traditional Henna in Morocco
Traditional Henna in Morocco

Henna in Morocco is both work and a hobby for some Moroccan ladies. They are so skilled in what they do that they are often asked to weddings so that the bride gets her hands and feed tattooed. In many regions, the tradition requires the name of the groom to be inserted in the design.

If you wish to be experience henna tattooing, you must seek an artist around the medina in any of the Moroccan cities. You will notice women dressed in back or blue djellaba (typical Moroccan clothing) sitting on small chairs. English is not so wide spoken among the henna design specialist.

Traditional Henna at a Moroccan Wedding
Traditional Henna at a Moroccan Wedding

Henna in Morocco is one of the biggest tourist attractions and there is no way you can skip it. Before you start, however, ask about the price and always bargain. Look around yourself very well and choose the lady with the most customers. The majority of the ladies have a catalog with designs you can chose from. When the henna is applied on the skin, its color is rather dark green or dark brown. The best henna is the green one. Henna connoisseurs strongly suggest avoiding black henna.

Don’t be surprised, if the henna falls off overnight. The beautiful orange or brown design underneath will stay for several weeks slowly disappearing. The henna application does not take more than 5-10 minutes and your hands or legs will be nicely decorated with flowers, interesting patterns and Arabic words. This, of course, depends on the complexity of the design. If you are visiting Morocco for the first time, henna tattooing is part of the pleasure such an exotic trip offers. There is so much to learn about Henna in Morocco!

About the author

Joshua Mok is a cultural enthusiast and adventurer who can speak 6 different languages. Joshua currently lives in Tunisia and has firsthand experience with the language, people, and culture of North Africa. At Mosaic North Africa, Joshua is combining his business marketing expertise with his passion for travel to help others discover and enjoy the cultural and historical beauties of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

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