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Salam aleikoum with henna - Somaliland

Salam aleikoum with henna - Somaliland

I think i have said more than 2000 times "Salam aleikoum" in Somaliland. it is the best way to show local people than you want to make a contact , and it works.
Used for several millenaries for its dying proprieties, the henna became famous for the temporary brownish tattoos it allows to make harmlessly on the skin. Extracted from the homonym plant by crushing its fresh leaves, Henna is broadly used in Africa, Southern Asia and the Middle East. Cleopatra and Nefertiti are known for having used henna and in Egyptian beliefs, it was part of the afterlife journey preparation, since it has been discovered on several mummies' toenails by archeologists.
In India, the henna has been introduced by the Mughal conquerors in the 12th Century. From this moment on, it has been used by the people that live in the Thar desert to paint their hands and feet, which would maintain their body temperature low.
A paste made with a mix of the power obtained by crushing the leaves, water and essential oil is applied on the body with the help of a little cone or syringe by artists or designers. Making a tattoo on each arm with a lot of details can last up to 5 hours. Then count another 4 hours to dry the skin, during which you cannot do anything. On the hair, you must make a coating and let the henna act for several minutes. The result can vary from auburn to darker colors: brown and purple, depending on if used on combination with indigo dye or alone, the original color of the hair and the originating place of the henna. Muslim males also use henna for dying their beards, following the tradition of prophet Muhammad, Koran writes.
The night of Henna -or Bridal henna- is undoubtedly one of the most widespread tradition among Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus in the countries where the henna is present enough (Turkey, Lebanon, Morocco, India, etc.). It is a women's party that usually takes place the night before the wedding. The brides closest friends and female parents gather to eat, dance and have the bride's hands painted with henna patterns: flowers in the Muslim culture; a circle of dots with a bigger dot in the center called Mehndi in India. This ritual symbolizes the passing of the bride under her husband's care and the leaving from paternal authority.
A more superstitious tradition is henna averts malevolent spirits and the so-called Evil eye in Africa, the Arabian peninsula and the Levant. It is also supposed to attract or repel helpful or harmful Jinns, sort of supernatural creatures in Arab folklore.
Over the passed two decades, the tradition of henna has been spreading to the West in a trendy manner: in Cornwall, U.K., a Princess had herself henna-tattooed before her wedding, reproducing the Night of Henna ritual described above.
Black Henna is alternately used to talk about Indigo blue, a natural dye used in the same manner than the henna, and about a harmful chemical that can leave lifetime scars and have heavy after-effects.

Formerly a British colony, Somaliland briefly reached its independence in 1960. It is one of the three Territories, with Puntland and former Italian Somalia that compose the current State of Somalia.
Somaliland proclaimed its independence in 1991, adopting its own currency, a fully independent government, working institutions and police. The authorities organized a referendum in 2001, advocating once again for full independence. However, to date, it is not internationally recognized.
Ethiopian Prime minister Meles Zenawi is the only one to speak about a Somalilander president, recognizing implicitly the existence of an independent State. Indeed the economy of neighboring Ethiopia dramatically depends on Somaliland stability, since the landlocked country’s main trade route passes through the Somalilander port of Berbera… And vice-versa, the economy of Somaliland largely depends on the taxes and duties it charges Ethiopia. Besides that, the principal economic activity of Somaliland is livestock exportation to the Arabian Peninsula. Most people are Sunni Muslims and speak Arabic, as well as some Somali dialect and many of them, English.Lastely, the East African demography being based on clan alliances, it is no surprise that the frontiers drawn by the colonists don’t match the ethnic divisions of territory, leading to open clashes. More broadly, this problem is recurrent across the African continent.

© Eric Lafforgue
www.ericlafforgue.com

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Photo prise @ Berbera le 13 novembre 2011 (© Eric Lafforgue / Flickr)

Voir aussi :
 4008, berbera, barbara, berbera barbara, afrique, afrika, africa, horn of africa, somalia, صوماللاند‎, somalie, somaliland, soomaaliland, british somaliland, somali, henna, hand, henne, الصومال, Сомали
 

Photos Somalia,somalie,somaliland