In anticipation of Eid Al-Adha, one tradition we most look forward to is decorating our hands with henna. The plant-based dye is an ancient practice used as a form of body art in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, and is often associated with celebrations, such as weddings and the biannual Islamic holiday.
While the majority of the female population in our region is fond of henna, some would prefer their hands free of curlicues, spirals, flowers, and color. But today, thanks to henna enthusiasts such as Azra Khamissa, those who are tired of the traditional, brown-red stain are presented with more future-proof options that go beyond intricate curlicues drawn on the hands. Khamissa, who often takes to her Instagram page to share pictures of striking henna art alongside her namesake range of made-in-the-UAE leather bags, has been playing with minimal designs for the last year. A quick scroll through her profile will reveal simple motifs in the shape of a crescent moon and brush-stroked dots drawn along the fingers.
“My henna designs are a complete contrast to what people in the Middle East are used to,” she says. “Henna is something I am very passionate about, it makes me feel alive and allows me express my artistic side. The best thing about it is that unlike a tattoo, I can update the designs regularly and natural henna is actually good for your skin.” In the slides above, Khamissa shares five contemporary henna designs to decorate your hands with this Eid.