Monday, February 14, 2011

Henna Hands and Feet


By Jessica B.

By Michael R.
Birch Meadow second graders studied the art of Mehndi.  Many of us know this art form as Henna. Henna is the plant in which a dye is made from the leaves and flowers.   It is painted on the hands and feet to mark special occasions such as weddings and coming of age ceremonies.  It stains the upper layers of the skin and does not penetrate beyond the dead layers of skin. The stain is reddish-brown in color.  It is not permanent and fades over time.  Mehndi is practiced in Africa, the Indian sub-continent, and the Middle East.  African Mehndi designs use geometric shapes and bold patterns on the hands. The African henna is covered in ashes and ammonia compounds to make the stain turn a blackish color.  Indian designs are more delicate using thin lines featuring paisley and floral designs covering the hands, forearms, feet and shins.  Middle Eastern Mehndi is very large and floral in nature. It covers the hands and feet. 
Second graders created their own versions of henna hands and feet.  

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