People will tell you that henna has been used for 5,000 years to decorate the body. That might be going a little too far back. But in the last couple of hundred years, henna has been in vogue from West Africa to Indonesia.
From very basic designs drawn with sticks and fingers to elaborate 'wedding' henna with modern tools like syringes, jaquard bottles and rolled cellophane... henna patterns and styles have drifted across cultural lines with globalization.
In my community of artists, we know people who have been hennaed by street vendors in Fez who are referencing American artists via Instagram, and those artists got their inspiration from books out of India in the 1970s. Truly a global art form.
One universal appeal is the ephemeral nature of the art. From tending the soil to painting the paste on the skin, a lot of time and energy has gone into a design that will last 10 days (or a bit longer with extra-special care).
The temporary stain is a beautiful way to express individuality; or connect you to a shared experience.