Salima's Niyani

Salima a second time client (now friend) and I met twice recently to capture first her Niyani a mothers blessing type event and then again to capture her Mehndi (henna)Most of teh words in this blogpost are Salimas own -m


A niyani is a ritual performed by khoja Ismaili women but it likely has its roots in Hinduism, as so many of our rituals do! A niyani is literally a young, unmarried girl. In Indic cultures, young women who fall into this category are considered to be holders of great baraka (blessings), which they are able to share with others in the right circumstances. In general, for a niyani, the woman hosting has a particular goal in mind, a boon she is hoping will be granted by God. In exchange for this blessing, she promises to feed a group of niyani (usually 7 or increments of 7) and give them gifts. The niyani’s presence and partaking of this ritual allows the woman to share in their baraka, increasing her chances of fulfilling her wish. It is also a way to fulfill the pledge she has made to God, who is ultimately the one who can grant the woman’s desire. At a basic level though, a niyani is about putting goodness into the world in the hopes that it comes back to you. - S

Salima is hoping for a smoother second birth and hopefully a V-bac next month. -m


There was delicious food, the application of celebratory mehndi (aka henna), including Salimas mehndi belly, hands and feet and the rest of the ladies hands and the chance to participate in some prayer recitation from the Ismaili/Muslim tradition.


Mehndi and makeup by

Hair/ hair tattoo by

Handwoven wrap by

Cookies by

Hairpiece was by

Earring by

Photos by