Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - No comments

Henna Party

Long ago in Turkey, when a young man left for war, his family would dye his palms with blood-coloured henna to represent the sacrifice he would make for his country. Over the centuries, this tradition evolved and become a pre-wedding ritual for girls preparing to leave their family home and become a "sacrifice" to their new husbands. Friends and relatives gather to mourn the departure of the girl from the home and celebrate the new life she is entering into. The bride to be adorns herself all in red, and purchases a special red veil and lacy red gloves for the occasion. Women light candles and dance around the bride-to-be, singing songs about leaving her family until she cries....or at least pretends to be sad to be leaving. :) They then place the pasty green henna on her hands and leave it til it dyes them red. Then the party takes a joyful turn and the music, hip-shaking and traditional song last well into the night.

As my roommate is preparing to go home and get married soon, we gathered all the neighbours and held a henna celebration of our own. Their was singing, dancing, and piles of yummy food. The bride had to put a little saliva on her cheeks at the appropriate time since the tears wouldn't come - she is nothing but thrilled about her upcoming marriage. We loved taking part in the customs of our "foreign homeland," dying our hands with henna and willing our western hips to move like those of our Turkish compatriots. Shaker belts certainly help with that - even if you're like me and can't move like a Middle Eastern belly dancer, at least it still sounds impressive!