Getting married in Brussels: henna ritual

Hello everyone! Do you know what I like most about living in Brussels? That I get to meet lots of people from different cultures with different traditions. A friend of mine was getting married and since she told me it was going to be a mixed Moroccan-European wedding, I wanted to know all about the Moroccan wedding traditions 🙂 . She invited me to witness the henna ritual and gave me permission to take pictures!

The henna ritual is an importent element of a Muslim wedding, not only in Morocco but also in Turkey, Pakistan and so on. A few days before the wedding, a professional henna artist applies the henna on the bride’s hands and feet. Depending on the region where the bride’s family comes from, there are different patterns and styles to choose from. In the pictures and video you will see a Tanger inspired version.


During the henna ritual, different family members and friends are welcome to pass by to keep the bride company. The henna is not just a way to make her beautiful for the wedding day, but it has also a more spiritual meaning. It is supposed to bring happiness and protection when the bride enters a next phase in her life.


The bride is always dressed in a traditional white robe the day of the henna. I learned a few important things about henna from the woman who applied it. First, be careful what kind of henna they use on you, because sometimes there are chemicals added and you could have an allergic reaction! The darker the paste, the more chemicals (like gasoline). Henna is a powder made from a plant, and is always green. After adding other ingredients, it should be dark brown. If the paste is black, you should refuse it. The woman added fresh lemon, essential oil and sugar to the green powder. Sometimes henna can smell really bad, but the essential oil prevents this. See how she applies it in the following video:

And let’s see the end result:


One hand done.


Then the feet.


The hands are done on both sides. Once the henna has dried out (takes a few hours, or the next day) she can crumble it off. Only the drawing itself will remain and the color is less dark. The henna will stay on for one or two weeks, depending on how much you take a shower.

I’m very happy I was able to witness this ritual, although I am a little bit jealous that there is nu such thing in my own culture 🙂 . I hope you enjoyed it.






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