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Ankita Kotangale, graduate student in technology, puts Henna Tattoo on Heather Burger, senior in business, hands during the fundraising event at Overman Student Center on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The event was hosted by Indian Student Association to fundraise for their upcoming event Holi. Salehin Mahbub photo-editor

Indian Student Association shares traditions with PSU

The Indian Student Association hosted a henna tattoo event from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the Overman Student Center. Henna is a traditional tattoo for women than can be involved in many occasions including engagements, weddings, and festivals. 

“Henna is a tradition from back home (India)… Indian weddings have special henna function where henna is painted over brides to celebrate the joy and beauty of the spiritual offering,” said Abhirajsinh Thakor, junior in automotive technology and the president of Indian student association. “Henna is a small flowering shrub that has many uses… The fragrant flowers are used to create perfume, and the leaves are dried and then turned into a fine powder that’s used for dying clothes, hair and temporarily dying the skin.” 

Thakor said that the Indian Student Association wants to promote their culture and traditions with PSU and the Pittsburg community. 

“My vision is to promote multiculturalism in the campus and hence in the Pittsburg community by the principles of togetherness, love and freedom…,” said Thakor. “This would help me to understand that how can I, as a representative of the Indian diaspora be able to promote Indian culture in an American way so that ISA can be a champion of inclusiveness and cooperation.” 

Historically, henna was used in the Arabian Peninsula, Indian Subcontinent, near and Middle East, Carthage, other parts of North Africa and the Horn of Africa. 

“Generally henna tattoo is done as a tradition…,” said Akash Bhinde, graduate student in automotive technology. “The plant has even been known to treat skin condition. Before the marriage we have a special henna night in which we celebrate and do henna on the bride’s body and family and friends.” 

The Indian Student Association had previously hosted the event and decided to put it on again. 

“We had a lot of demands from old students and also during Spring semester we usually do henna event to gather funds for the upcoming event,” Bhinde said. “So that we can help support our main event for this semester, that is Holi.” 

Bhinde said that they want to make the local students aware of their traditions and customs.  

“Every culture and region of the world uses henna tattoos in its own unique way… For Hindu weddings, henna is painted on the bride to symbolize beauty” Bhinde said. “The natives here only have a few festivals to celebrate and India is a culture with various festivals, cultural events and traditions… we want the Americans people to enjoy them along with us.”  

Dilare Maihemuti, freshman in communication, attended the event and said it helped her to understand more about Indian culture. 

“I have lots of Indian friends and I’m really interested in the Indian culture too,” she said. “Before, in my hometown, we also use to do henna… It’s very common, so I’m kind of homesick that’s why I did henna today make me feel home. I think henna is very funny to look at it and so gorgeous.” 

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