Henna: The Mehendi Tradition

Henna, also known as Mehendi, originates from India and is derived from a plant called Lawsonia Enermims. Although the history and origin of Henna is hard to trace, it has been used for at least 5,000 years in both cosmetic and healing capacities. Henna is most commonly used as temporary body art which stains the skin for 7-10 days and has no adverse side effects due to its natural origin. In addition, the Henna aroma is very relaxing and calming, which has restorative effects on the body and mind. Traditional henna is used for weddings, spiritual events, ring ceremonies, baby showers, and other celebrations.

Master Artist: Avani Desai (Redmond)

Avani was born and raised in a village in the state of Gujarat, India, where henna is commonly used by women as adornment for any function. Inspired by its beauty, Avani decided to teach herself the art of henna. She started practicing on friends and family members as early as eight years old. She now has her own studio, Avani Henna, sharing her talents with the Greater Seattle area.

“I learned this art through practice and, above everything else, it comes from my heart.”

Apprentice: Ramadevi Vaddepalli (Sammamish)

 Ramadevi has fostered a love for henna since childhood. She was further inspired after meeting Avani and seeing her skilled work. With the knowledge she gains through this apprenticeship, Ramadevi hopes to make a career out of practicing henna while also building her confidence as she progresses. With the help of Avani, she is planning to host henna events throughout the Greater Seattle area to take her skill level even further.

“If I can learn this skill, it will give me the chance to take this tradition ahead and it may help me to build my confidence in doing something on my own.”

Featured image: Intricate henna design on hands. Avani Henna.

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