Henna art is an ancient form of body art dating back 5000 years ago. Originally used as a form of cooling off in the hot desert climates it later evolved into body art. Often practiced in the Middle East, Africa and India for thousands of years it is noted that the Egyptians also used this form of body art as well. Though its actual origins are unknown for sure, some claim India, others claim Egypt started the artwork that lead to many traditions that are practiced today.
Henna art is a form of temporary body art that uses henna powder to stain the skin. Typically called henna tattoos today, this term is incorrect as henna art is temporary not permanent like ink tattoos.
Henna art is used in many cultures as adornment for pre-wedding ceremonies as a symbol of blessings and luck for the happy couple to be. Some use henna art on pregnant bellies as a symbol of protection for mother and baby. Many other traditions live on through henna art, but it is now used as a form of temporary art instead of permanent tattoos.
Indian Mehndi henna art features intricate floral, lace and even paisley patterns that tend to cover the person's entire hands, feet or arms. These patterns are close together with little space in between the patterns and often have sun depictions on the palm. While African cultures have patterns that are very bold and geometric in pattern, and Arabic patterns are more subtle and delicate in design featuring a lot of floral depictions.
No matter the type of henna art you decide to get, make sure it speaks to you. Embrace the culture behind the art.