Starting in October, the Hindi club offered to do henna or mehndi, a tradition followed by many people during celebrations and festivities. It is a paste made from Lawsonia leaves and herbs and when applied, it leaves a beautiful stain that usually lasts for a week.
Senior Amritaa Sreeram, president of the South Asian Student Assosiation (SASA), is very proud that they are able to fundraise by practicing their culture.
“We do henna in the hindi room which is in 221. Henna is done because it is a big part of the traditions of India, and we believe that it represents our rich culture,” Sreeram said.
Hennas were priced from five to ten dollars depending on how intricate or how big the design the student requested was.
“Usually a full hand which is from the fingertips to the wrist is five dollars, but some people want it on their arm or back and we charge more for the intricacy. The most we’ve charged is ten dollars,” Sreeram said.
Sophomore Priyanka Sharma is taking the Hindi class offered at Bellaire and is a member of SASA. Henna is a cultural tradition in which people get it during weddings and major events.
“Many people get it before Holika and girls get it before they go to weddings.” Sharma said. “It is a cultural belief that if the henna on the bride gets darker, her husband will be more affectionate towards her, but I don’t believe that. A lot of the students here get them because they find the cultural designs very interesting.”
Henna is offered every day during lunch and Sharma is sometimes there at lunch to do henna to help her club fundraise.
“We do it every day during lunch because we know people have other commitments and places to be at lunch so we try to work with everyone’s schedules to make them happy!” Sreeram said. “You can come in any day during lunch and we would be glad to do henna for you,” Sharma said.
Many of the students doing the henna have actually learned to do it by watching relatives and practicing themselves.
“We are student run and most of us are actually self-taught. My mom used to take classes, and I went along with her, but definitely practice makes perfect,” Sharma said. “We learned these traditions from our parents and ancestors and we practice whenever festivals come around,” Sreeram said.
Sreeram is proud of the outcome they made during October and is looking forward to raising more money to support her club’s events.
“We are thankful for the money we raised for our club as it became a very popular trend and we still have people coming in for more,” Sreeram said. “The money raised goes to our annual dance show which actually happened this Saturday to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, and our dance competition around the beginning of April to celebrate Holaka or Holi, the festival of colors, where we invite many different high school Indian clubs to take part and dance a traditional dance or a more modern Bollywood style. Other dance groups like Infused Performing arts, and UH’s Roarin Raas.