We find it so interesting to see that each country has its own perception of beauty. As Zanzibar is the first island that we will visit during our world trip, we already wanted to look for rituals that play an important part in the Swahili culture.
We found an article on Around the Globe, that informed us about some interesting beauty rituals from Zanzibar! Please find them listed below:
- A wedding ritual – In Zanzibar, Tanzania, the bride-to-be will follow the “Singo” ritual for a full week prior the actual wedding. A Singo is a body scrub for the skin, made out of natural products only, such as:
- Fresh jasmine flowers
- Ylang Ylang (a plant with bright yellow flowers)
- Rose Petals
- Sandal wood
All the above ingredients should be mixed with rose water. Once all the ingredients are combined, it will be put all together in a traditional “Kinu” which is a sort of blender. The Singo will be put on the women’s skin when she is laying on a Mkeka (traditional mat), and will be repeated for days until the skin feels renewed and silky. The reason why the women’s skin should feel so soft is not to become more attractive to her husband-to-be. It is actually to leave the skin prime for the perfect application of henna!
Henna is a natural dye, used for body decoration, originated in Arabic cultures as a cooling technique for the hands and feet. The pretty painting is considered majorly important for brides. The henna should actually be just as impressive as the wedding dress itself.
- Khanga –Traditional cotton clothes that are bright and colorful. Some say that this is really the pride of Swahili women. The patterns of the Khanga fabrics are all about love, culture, relationships and personal feelings. Each piece will tell you a different and personal story.
- Moringa Oil – This oil comes from the miracle tree Nebeday, and originally means: never die. This treasure from nature used for the anti-aging of the skin, and it will mainly fade wrinkles. However, some women also use it against acne, dark spots, and blackheads. And as if that’s not enough, people say the oil is also capable to heal the split ends of hair. Moringa oil contains lots of vitamins and minerals which could even make your hair stronger. I mean, getting to try this oil would already be a good reason to travel all the way to Zanzibar, right!
- Udi –Udi is used to fragrance the homes, and clothes. Originally, the word Udi comes from “oud” which is Arabic for tree. How it is made, is quite hard to tell as Swahili women tend to keep this a secret. However, the basis is made out of caramelized sugar mixed mixed with small pieces of agar or aloe wood, rose water, and perfume.
There are many other traditions and rituals in each country, and we can’t wait to discover them!
Once we are in Zanzibar, we would really like to try the Moringa Oil, and we will definitely tell you what it did for our skin and hair.
What is your favorite tradition? Or do you have a personal ritual that you would like to share, please feel free as we LOVE to read your stories!