Indian Culture Club hosts Henna Night


Kaitlyn De Armas

The Indian Culture Club gives henna designs to students.

On Friday, October 12th, the Indian Culture Club offered students one of the last opportunities to earn a culture point for the first quarter. Free henna and Indian snacks were provided to around fifty students that came from 7-9 p.m. in Hooper. Students listened to the speech on the history of henna or got a henna tattoo of their own to earn this culture point.

In case you missed the event, Riya Patel (‘21), co-head of the Indian Culture Club, explained the history of henna to the students at the event: henna is a type of body art that has been used for centuries. It originates in Egypt for wedding festivals, religious ceremonies, and recreational body decoration. In India, this temporary tattoo art is called Mehndi (ˈmendi).

Although henna tattooing is practiced across Africa, South Asia, and parts of Australia, it is most well known as a tradition that has originated from India. Since the 1990s, henna tattoos have been gaining popularity in the United States and Europe, but they are used in the United States for more recreational purposes and body decor than as a ceremonial tradition.

To create  the dye, the henna plant is dried and ground down into a paste. The paste is then rolled into a cone for easy and accurate application onto the skin. The paste then dries on the skin, and will crumble off by itself. For the most vibrant results, the paste can be left on overnight. The areas where the dye touches the skin are stained with the reddish brown design.

The Indian Culture Club also provided an assortment of different foods for students to try, ranging from sweet to savory. The club provided an assortment of delicacies, such as plain papdi, jalebi, and samosas.

Plain papdi is similar to a chip made from gram flour, and samosas are a triangular fried pastry made filled with vegetables or meat. One of the sweeter snacks at the event was jalebi, which is made from deep fried maida flour in a circular swirl. This treat tastes similar to a glazed donut.

Sneha Jindal (‘21), co-head of the Indian Culture Club, said, “Riya, Ashley, and I were super excited to see the amount of people that showed up for Henna Night! Riya and I wanted to share with the Webb community a part of our culture, and since we knew henna was something a lot of people were interested in, we knew this would be the perfect way to introduce people to Indian culture. The three of us had a lot of fun hosting the event, and we hope everyone who came had as great of a time as we did!”