Since the Eid Festivities have come and gone, some women in Nigeria have been spotted with henna on their Hands and Feet. Applied using laali, a plant-based dye, which comes out as a brownish colour after it has been extracted.

The Muslims in Nigeria have adopted the application of this dye-like substance for body art just like their Indian counterparts since the coming of age, and it is now commonplace to see young girls and adults adorn themselves in this manner.

Henna has been a part of the sub-continental culture for centuries; a timeless custom symbolising joy and celebration. In the North weddings, parties, childbirth and Eid are incomplete without women sporting intricate laali tattoos on their hands and feet. Weddings are particularly popular occasions for this art, with many old wives’ tales claiming that the deeper the shade of a bride’s laali, the more her husband will love her.

Eid is another time wherein Nigerian women flock to Henna artists to get their hands and feets done.

Permanent body inking, which goes beyond the skins surface, like branding, scalpelling and sub dermal, might be a no-go area for some, but this form of body art is the next best option. Muslims opt for henna because it is paradise worthy. It is not acceptable in Islam to use the secular glittery nail polish that is common among women today. Although it is becoming expensive, Muslim women like to do it from time to time, even without any festival or occasion in sight.

This form of body art is not only appealing to Muslims but to Non-Muslims, too. Instead of the usual patterns, they opt for more trendy patterns that are obtainable with the regular permanent tattoo. Some like it and prefer it to the tatto since you can change the design after a few weeks or month depending on the chemical used. Muslim brides, too, are also traditionally beautified in this way. Most times, theirs are more intricate and bold designs that can stretch up to the upper arm.

Side effects

Other than the pepperish sensation felt after the application of the paste, there is little or less to worry about. Caution, however, is given to those who use skin-bleaching creams and those with damaged skin to tread with care or simply admire it on others. The choice is yours.