Henna night in Turkey is a sight to behold, a memorable experience, and an amazing culture. If you ever plan to visit Turkey, try and experience this delightful event if you can manage. But what is so special about this one cultural event? Read on to find out all about henna night in Turkey and what makes it so unusual.
Turkish Henna Night and Everything You Need to Know About it
It doesn’t require mentioning that Turkey is a melting pot of wonderful cultures and traditions that are worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime. One such culture and tradition that has been practiced in Turkish households for ages is the Turkish henna night.
The Turkish henna night is a cultural event held typically at the bride’s place during a wedding. It is known as Kina Gecesi in Turkish and is an extravagant get-together of friends, family, relatives, and neighbors. It is a night of celebration just before a wedding when women come together and celebrate with food and drinks. There is a lot of singing and dancing involved as well.
It is called henna night because the bride’s hands are adorned with eye-catching henna designs. The other women in the family participate and beautify their hands with henna too. It is a night of merriment but there is also a lot of crying involved. The bride will be leaving her family to start her new life with her husband and this henna night is the last she will be spending merrymaking with her relatives, friends, family, and neighbors before leaving her home. Hence, although there is a lot of fun, singing, and dancing, the mood is somber too.
Henna Night in Turkey Rituals
Usually, the henna night is held one or two days before the D-day, which is the wedding. Women who are friends, neighbors, and relatives of the bride gather in the bride’s home for the rituals. A few close friends and relatives of the groom gets to join the ritual too. Especially, the mother-in-law of the bride has an important role to play in the Henna night in Turkey rituals. A flag is traditionally hung at the house to mark the official start of the wedding ceremonies.
Delicious dried fruits along with juices are served while the guests sing and dance. The bride is dressed in a bindalli, which is a long traditional velvet evening gown, and red cloth is used to cover her head. The bride is brought out in between the guests and she is made to sit down on a stool or a chair in the middle of the room.
Young girls carrying a tray with the henna paste and candles walk around the bride, all the while singing and dancing. The others participate in the singing too. The songs are about the bride leaving her home to start her family. There is one traditional henna night Turkey song that tells a story about the separation of a mother and a daughter, which leads to the bride and her mother crying.
There is a lot of crying during this time. The bride along with her mother and close friends and relatives cry at the prospect of letting the bride go. This is a very interesting part of the henna night because on one side there are joyous celebrations, and on the other hand, there are so many emotions.
After walking around the bride, the women start applying henna on the palms of the bride’s hands. This is the real point of Turkish henna night. The bride’s head is covered with a veil and a henna applier sits beside the bride. The henna applier calls the older relatives of the bride, including the mother-in-law and the mother of the bride to apply henna on the palms of the bride’s hands.
At the start of the ritual of the henna night, the mother-in-law places a gold coin at the center of the bride’s palm and then applies the henna. One by one the mother of the bride and others apply henna to the bride’s palm. Once the henna applying is done, the henna is passed to the other women in the house.
Henna Night in Turkey and The Groom’s Involvement
Depending on the region of Turkey, the henna night may or may not include the groom and his family. The mother of the groom and some close relatives may join the henna night according to the Turkish tradition but the groom is usually excluded.
In some regions in Turkey, the groom visits the bride’s henna night after the henna application is complete. He will remove the veil covering the bride’s face, dance with her, and leave. In some regions, the henna is sent to the groom’s home to be applied on the little finger of the groom. There are also some regions where an elaborate ceremony is held at the groom’s house too for Turkish henna night.
Turkish Henna Night and the Amazing Rituals
The Turkish henna night is an amazing coming together of traditional cultures with modern changes. With time the henna night is slowly becoming like a bride’s bachelorette party but the essence of the ceremony remains the same. It is the last night of the bride-to-be as a young unmarried girl and she enjoys it with the people she loves the most.
If you ever get to be a part of the henna night in Turkey you will get to witness what an amazing extravagant traditional ritual this is. While there is no elaborate arrangement for foods and drinks, the homely atmosphere, the emotional reason behind the night, the traditional singing and dancing, and the display of love will surely get you misty-eyed too.
The Henna night in Turkey is a one-of-a-kind celebration that speaks of the rich history, culture, and traditions of the country. It is an honor to be part of such a great occasion and you would be really lucky if you get to experience it first-hand.