By Gail M. Harley
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Additional resources for Hindu and Sikh Faiths in America (Faith in America Series)
Henna is used primarily by women, but men in America have used it as well. A special design, usually religious, is chosen and drawn on the skin, usually the hands, feet, and face. Henna comes in many shades of red and orange. Henna is also used as a hair dye in some American beauty products. Henna was originally used as sacred adornment for brides and bridesmaids in Hindu weddings. There are Indian beauty shops in America that specialize in these types of cosmetic arts. ” Usually a henna artist will be hired to apply specific designs for the women at the party while they socialize.
One time, I asked these people why they sneered at me. ” they said. I was dismayed. These people had equated me, a person of Indian descent, with a network of terrorists. Is it because I looked different than them? They did not even know me, yet they assumed things about me that were not true. In the following months, I volunteered to walk my female Muslim friends to their cars after dark. It is a horrible feeling to know that people may be out to harm you. Most people who are prejudiced against someone else do not really know much about that other person.
Some of the fashion has influenced what Americans wear. One of the most popular Hindu-inspired fashions has nothing to do with clothing, however. Henna is a special plant grown in India. This plant can be picked, dried, crushed, and ground into a fine powder. The fine powder is made into a paste mix. When the paste mix is applied to the skin and left to dry, it forms a temporary tattoo that lasts about one to two weeks. Henna is used primarily by women, but men in America have used it as well. A special design, usually religious, is chosen and drawn on the skin, usually the hands, feet, and face.