Saturday, March 30, 2013

Swahili


      For her marriage, a Swahili girl undergoes a series of beauty treatments that mark her transition to womanhood. Her hands, arms, and feet are decorated with a dye made of powdered henna, water, and the juice of unripe limes which darkens the color. These designs - considered to bring blessings and good luck - are applied by her “somo”, or teacher, who is often an older sister or aunt who isntructs her on how to please her new husband.    

From Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher’s Lamu: Kenya’s Enchanted Island