Henna: Culture Code to #PopOfCulture

HENNA HAS ASSUMED POP CULTURE STATUS, AND HAS ITSELF BECOME A SELL-E-BRITY. 

Henna is a "form of body art from Ancient Indian in which decorative designs are created on a person's body using a paste, created from the powdered dry leaves of the henna plant". It is sometimes applied as a political or traditional instrument to achieve different cultural or lifestyle purposes. Some use it as dye for their hair but it's more popularly used to decorate the hands and feet by turning it into a paste, and then painting designs on the skin. This process is called "Mehndi" but popularly known as Henna.

 A Henna crown for a chemotherapy patient via hennalounge.com

A Henna crown for a chemotherapy patient via hennalounge.com

Henna is common in India, Pakistan, most parts of Asia, and the Arab world, even in Africa, especially the Hausa and Fulani people who mostly are of Arab descent. The Henna culture also is practiced in Kenya and Tanzania. Henna is mostly used during festivals and weddings as an instrument of beauty but lately, this symbol of beauty and art, and often times, a representation of a society's way of life, has evolved beyond a simple culture code. 

 Image courtesy of hennalounge.com

Image courtesy of hennalounge.com

It's tougher practicing art that aren't peculiar to ones culture or way of life but due to the influence of globalization and technology, people are becoming more experimental with foreign and exported lifestyles. Henna has moved from something that was applied just during festivities to a symbol of limitless beauty. It's a fact that henna was made popular to the western world through india's roboost entertainment company, Bollywood. Not only did the western world get interested, they have mordified it and made it their own. 

 Via pinterest 

Via pinterest 

In Nigeria, Henna has become very popular, especially outside the cultures that initially practiced it. At fairs, events and get togethers, Henna stands are now available to cater to people who just want to be beautified by it or want to experience another culture in the simplest way. Some years back, it would look rather strange for a woman who is not of Hausa or Fulani descent to use Henna. In fact, most people wouldn't even think of it, but now it's praised, popular and has become a thing that the 'cool kids' do. Now, there are places that specialize in the art of henna design, their main clientele would've been women from northern parts of the country who are getting married or attending an important event but now, as Henna has been made pop culture, any and everyone can decide to be adorned by this art. At a recent event hosted by She Leads Africa tagged the SLAY festival; a platform for people, especially women to network and gain knowledge about things from people in different industries; a Henna stand was made available at the event for anyone who wanted to have the experience, In fact, a session was even provided for free for people who had bought priority tickets

 'The Henna Place' stand at SLAY festival. via bellanaija.com

'The Henna Place' stand at SLAY festival. via bellanaija.com

Isn't it interesting how something that has always been practiced only by particular tribes and cultures is now being practiced all around the world. It doesn't just stop there. Let's take an instance, years back, having natural hair wasn't something that was really practiced, it wasn't classified as classy enough, the cool kids used hair relaxers and had their hair permed but with the influence of innovation and pop culture, the cool kids now have their hair natural and many brands are leveraging on that by creating products for the natural haired woman, maybe in a couple of years, Saris will no longer be a traditional attire for Indian women but will be something worn on the red carpet by international celebrities.

 American actress Vanessa Hugens wearing henna via twistmagazine.com

American actress Vanessa Hugens wearing henna via twistmagazine.com

Bottom line is, trends are becoming more interesting as pop culture is being fused with tradition to create a new way of living. Millennials are breaking barriers. People can now invest in businesses they couldn't invest in before because as limits are being broken, wider audiences and larger pool of consumers can be reached.