Entradas populares

Friday, July 29, 2011

ALHEÑA

PRE-WEDDING HENNA
Photo by: Ashley Dinges
OCast alcana, alfeña, Hisp Ar. alhínna, L. Lawsonia intermis, L. alba, Ar. hennā‘, hínna, Heb. chana, Eng. henna, alcanna. It is a shrub from which a green powder is extracted from leaves and dissolved in water to dye hair or skin a reddish orange color. It represented fire and the blood of the earth. Egyptians dyed mummies with henna. The Bible mentions henna in Song of Sol. 1:14 and 4:12-13. In Yemen, Jews smeared the bride’s body with henna dye. A person paid for the privilege to do this by giving the couple a present. From there came the expression “henna night” instead of wedding night. This custom is still exists in some parts of Israel. Jews also used henna to combat urinary infections. Muslims introduced henna to Spain. When Ziryab, the famous Kurd musician, arrived Cordova from Baghdad in 822, his beard was dyed with henna as Arabs throughout the Middle East. This was first sign of how he would change the styles and manners in the emir’s dining rooms. As dying hair with henna became the rage for both men and women, he left specific instructions on how to do it. Still today henna is known as “Ziryab’s dye.” It has been used to dye fabrics. Arabs found it useful medicine. Ibn Massouih used it to minimize the effects of smallpox. It also relieved nervous complaints, leper and tuberculosis. African Muslims apply the oil from the flower as perfume. A street, in the Jewish market of Toledo, Spain, was named Alcana and another in the town of Elche, Alicante continue to be called this. See aligustre. [Baena/Dutton. 1993:305:544:v202; ES: “Abderrahman.” Nov 6, 05; Stuart. 1987:212; and Usher. 1974:346-347]
WHAT WOULD A GOOD WIFE DO?
(Paint interesting areas with henna!)
Photo by: ROBERT KING and MICHELLE KING

1 comment:

  1. Does "abéñula" have anything to do with alheña? it is a kind of soft kohl in cream for the eyes, still sold in some pharmacies.

    ReplyDelete