There are many fas­ci­nat­ing wed­ding tra­di­tions across the African con­ti­nent and one of the most stun­ning­ly beau­ti­ful is cer­e­mo­ni­al hen­na.

In Kenya, the bride is bathed in san­dal­wood oils and hen­na is applied to her limbs. This pho­to, from Nat­ur­al Geo­graph­ic, is of a hen­naed Swahili Bride in Kenya;

A Swahili wed­ding is filled with rit­u­als designed to beau­ti­fy the bride and height­en the sens­es. Before her wed­ding, Fati­ma has designs drawn on her limbs with twigs dipped in hen­na.

henna

In Nige­ria, apply­ing hen­na is con­sid­ered to be an inte­gral part of the wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny and said appli­ca­tion typ­i­cal­ly lasts 2 weeks, serv­ing as an indi­ca­tor of the couple’s love. The hen­na is also said to bring good luck. While the bride has the hen­na on her hands, she is not oblig­at­ed to do house­work and is pam­pered as the new bride in the fam­i­ly.

Hen­na’ is an art form that has been trans­formed from tra­di­tion­al adorn­ment to fit into the cur­rent fash­ion trend; it is made from herbs, which means it is all nat­ur­al. The pow­der is extract­ed from a ‘hen­na’ plant, where the leaves are dried and ground­ed into a fine pow­der. This pow­der would then be mixed with water, euca­lyp­tus oil, tea, cof­fee, and lime and then applied on the body. ‘Hen­na’ is used to cre­ate tem­po­rary tat­toos main­ly on the hands and feet of a woman. Peo­ple usu­al­ly choose areas that are vis­i­ble — the palm, arm, feet, wrist or around the navel. There are dif­fer­ent designs and pat­terns that can be intri­cate­ly dis­played on a woman’s hand.

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Gor­geous! For even more designs, check this video;

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24 Comments on "25 Stunning Images of Traditional Kenyan and Nigerian Bridal Henna Tattoos"

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Aryjan

Mix with black tea. Not the tea leaves, but boil the tea leaves and use that. The black­er the tea, the dark­er the tat­toos. The less bit­ter the tea, the lighter the tat­too. But yu have to let the paste (hen­na and tea mix) sit for sev­er­al min­utes.

BeastOfNoNation

reg­u­lar hen­na doesn’t show on our skin

Desya_beloved

These are actu­al­ly real­ly unsafe, “black hen­na” designs which are not nat­ur­al or authen­tic. Hen­na is nev­er black nat­u­ral­ly and unfor­tu­nate­ly a lot of coun­tries now use this “black hen­na” (actu­al­ly PPD) as a “tra­di­tion­al” method when it is not at all the orig­i­nal plant.

orionsbelt3

I think they might have used indi­go, which is nat­ur­al and black (it comes in pow­dered form like mend­hi). A Niger­ian woman told me this. Indi­go is safe to use but it doesn’t last long like hen­na (the green pow­der)… How­ev­er “black hen­na” does have harm­ful chem­i­cals (PPD) which are added to it.

Desya_beloved

I thought that at first too but indi­go is not near­ly that dark, it nor­mal­ly shows up blue on the skin… There could be oth­er things added to make it dark (safe or unsafe), but it’s def­i­nite­ly not pure hen­na

Erica

Beau­ti­ful black women. The tat­toos are very artis­tic and cre­ative

All Shades

Ayyy Hausa women rep­re­sent!!! I enjoy find­ing arti­cles like these. It goes to show that hen­na is deeply root­ed in many African cul­tures. It isn’t only in South Asian coun­tries like India.

oropesije

This is to say that most west­ern cul­ture like­ly orig­i­nat­ed from Africa.

Tabatha

Oh My Lord! These ladies are Gor­geous!

Hakim Hasan

This is Kenyan..

s lynn

Actu­al­ly that is a PART of Kenyan cul­ture. The swahili who are Kenyan based at the coast of Kenya do Hen­na tat­toos. We have 46 tribes in Kenya, the Maa­sai you’re show­ing are only a tiny part of our cul­ture.

Hakim Hasan

We both agreed on this but the only prob­lem is that this is a false rep­re­sen­ta­tion of that cul­ture.

Hence­forth it looks more Hin­di than Kenyan. I have friends form Kenya and they are laugh­ing there ass­es off at this.

s lynn

I’d like to see these Kenyan friends of yours as they haven’t lived among the Swahili & clear­ly don’t know their cul­ture! Hen­na tatoos are tra­di­tion­al­ly used among the Swahili & have been used for cen­turies. Hen­na is also used in neigh­bour­ing Ugan­da, Tan­za­nia & Zanz­ibar. I used to pick the plant in Mombasa(some peo­ple grow it) and we’d dry it and mix it with tea to use on skin. Hen­na has been used for years! Some old­er women in the coast of Kenya even mixed it with black tea to hide gray hair & this has been done for years!

Philly Jawn

BEAUTIFUL

bukster

Nige­ria is made up off many dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups. Hen­na is most­ly worn by North­ern Mus­lims but it’s pop­u­lar­i­ty is slow­ly increas­ing in the south.

Jenee Smith

why is their hen­na dark­er?

Desya_beloved

It looks like ppd (a dan­ger­ous chem­i­cal hair dye) it’s actu­al­ly very wide spread and not many peo­ple know that it is unsafe. They use it because it gets a quick, dark stain that can­not be achieved with true hen­na. Even in african coun­tries and india, ppd use is becom­ing com­mon.

Varah Potter

THAT’S SO COOL! Gosh I wish I had things like this in my cul­ture.

StraightShooter

These women are so beau­ti­ful. I love the hen­na tat­toos and thought it was only Indi­ans did this. Well I learn some­thing new every­day.

Tabatha

I thought the same. I’m glad I learned this tid-bit of info.

$29542384

This is soooooo beau­ti­ful!!!

Saran

this is beau­ti­ful. African women and black women in gen­er­al are beau­ti­ful!

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“In Nige­ria, apply­ing hen­na is con­sid­ered to be an inte­gral part of the wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny and said appli­ca­tion typ­i­cal­ly lasts 2 weeks, serv­ing as an indi­ca­tor of the couple’s love. ” Actu­al­ly, hen­na appli­ca­tion is com­mon prac­tice in the North­ern part of Nige­ria. Regard­less thanks for pro­mot­ing our cul­ture.

African Naturalistas Products
African Naturalistas Products

Exact­ly. I was going to say exact­ly that. I have nev­er seen a bride with hen­na before, even though I have lived all my life in Nige­ria. And that is because it is only com­mon in the north­ern part, among the Hausa tribe and few Mus­lims. Any­way, after see­ing these pic­tures, I think I will use hen­na dur­ing my wed­ding even though I am nei­ther Hausa nor mus­lim

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