Henna plays a major role in the Arabic culture. Although researchers find it hard to trace the exact history of Henna, it is believed to have originated in the Middle Eastern countries 5000 years ago.
Back in the ancient times, Henna was believed to have a healing power. Citizens of the upper class society use henna as medicines to different kinds of diseases. Some of them even assumed that with henna on their body, they were able to connect to a divine spirit. It was also treated as a symbol of good luck, wellness and sensuality. Moreover, henna was also an emblem of class ranks. Only those who are in the upper class can wear a henna. It is one of the things that separated the upper from the lower ranks.
Originally known as Al Hinna, Henna is now basically used for cosmetic purposes. Celebrations like weddings, birth, religious holidays, naming ceremonies, the eighth month of pregnancy, the 40th day after birth, circumcisions, and other parties. Nonetheless, it is most significant for weddings. In the Arab world, having a henna party a day or two before the wedding is a part of a solid tradition that the people follow. This is what we commonly know as bridal showers. This is why you can find a lot of henna salons in Dubai.
However, henna is not only symbolical for Arabs, even the Africans and Indians practice the use of henna in their celebration. The meaning of wearing hennas differ from culture to culture. Depending on which country you are pertaining to, Henna symbolizes fruitfulness, good health, knowledge, fortification and spiritual illumination.
The patterns and designs being used in these tattoos are also varying. While Arabic henna designs are usually floral patterns and placed on the hands and feet, the Indian henna tattoos are more about fine lines for paisley, lacy, and floral patterns covering entire feet shins, hands and forearms. African henna designs, on the other hand, are something that reflect their culture. In this region, the common patterns are large, geometric designs.
The application of henna can be as fast as 10 minutes but of course, depending on how complicated and big your chosen design is. The applicator is a cone-shaped plastic. It will be filled with henna paste. The henna salon professional will squeeze the cone as she draws out your selected pattern. After that, you will need to wait for 30 to 45 minutes for the paste to completely dry up.