I’ve been fascinated by henna art for many years, but never thought it was something I could experience. I didn’t see a Jewish person with a henna until I was an adult. That was the first time I began to research henna art and discovered it’s role and significance in many of the middle eastern cultures.
Henna is a plant and by itself will not stain the skin. Creating the henna used to adorn the skin requires the leaves of the henna plant to be processed into a powder then into a paste that will stick to the skin leaving it stained. Henna appears in the Bible, not explicitly but with a Hebrew reference to the henna plan (kopher) in the Song of Songs. Realizing it’s connection to my history, I felt more at ease having it done. I didn’t want to be disrespectful to the many cultures that use henna as part of their ritual ceremonies. But now I could join in the sisterhood of women who use henna as a ways to display their individuality as well as their interconnectedness.
I never would have imagined my love of Disney and henna would become so enmeshed. On my first trip to Disney World, I got my first henna. I decided it would be my souvenir. An experience rather than a thing to take home and forget about. At the Morocco pavilion in Epcot there is a henna artist! Imagine my excitement when I saw her. She wasn’t busy so I went to talk with her to learn more about her experience with henna and, ultimately, choose a design. There are actually two henna artists, Ilham (who’s always done mine) and her sister (whose name I never got).
The designs I choose often represent a feeling I’m trying to capture – Love, Beauty, Joy, or Happiness. While they range in price, having now had an opportunity to look at local henna artists I have to say that the prices charged at Epcot for henna art are very competitive with my local area. What I like most about getting a henna tattoo at Epcot is that the lady who does it has been doing it for many years, long before she came to the Morocco pavilion at Epcot.
While the designs I have chosen are intricate, a skilled henna artist can create them in about 15 minutes. At Epcot you choose a design from a book (prices ranged from $15 to $40) so the artist is familiar with this limited selection. Probably makes it easier and faster to have a set repertoire.
I’ve always had glitter put on mine at the end, but I’m not sure if that’s traditional or a little touch of Disney pixie dust. Either way, the glitter makes it a little more special. The most difficult part is after the henna is applied you have to let it dry. You know how when you’re not supposed to itch something that all of a sudden it itches like crazy? That’s what seems to happen. Get your henna on your hand and 32 seconds later you feel like you have to go to the bathroom. Resist the urge and plan ahead not to do anything for at least 30 minutes that involves the area where your henna was applied. Since you’re near all the beautify pavilions in Epcot, now’s the time to enjoy a leisurely stroll.
Next time you’re at Epcot, stop in and take a look at the design available at The Art of Henna in Morocco. It’s tucked away in a little shop right next to the lagoon, but it’s easy to find. Henna art is a wonderful souvenir of your trip to Disney World!
Have you ever had a henna tattoo?