Henna Night Tradition in Turkey

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Henna Night Tradition in Turkey before the wedding in Turkey is quite common in nearly all parts of Turkish society. In older times, wedding ceremonies consisted of stages which took several days. On Monday, it would begin with the “bride’s dowry” being sent to the groom’s house. Taking the dowry to the groom’s house was an important part of the wedding ceremony. The dowry was carried in a large, decorated chest made of wood or iron. The bridal bath was organized in the hamam (Turkish Bath) the next day (Tuesday), and on Wednesday evening a henna party was held in the part of the house where the bride lived. At the same time, the men could have fun in the men’s part of the same house or in the groom’s house.

Henna Night Tradition in Turkey
Henna Night Tradition in Turkey

The henna night is an occasion where the bride, young girls and women seeking their future spouse wore sumptuous, heavily embroidered dresses called ”bindalli”. The bride’s face was covered with a sequined red veil. The henna needed for the henna night was brought to the bride’s house by the bridegroom’s relatives on a silver tray containing two burning candles.

After all the guests had gathered, the bride’s future mother-in-law would lay down a silk fabric carpet she brought with her as a gift. As the bride and her friends, carrying the burning candles, approached the guests, the guests would drop coins to the bride’s head as a symbol of fertility. The bride would walk along the silk cloth carpet towards her future mother-in-law, grabbing her hand and kissing it respectfully.

Henna Night Tradition in Turkey

Fruit and nut trays, pastries and marzipan will be served to guests. Songs composed only for henna nights will be sung to make the bride-to-be cry. (It was believed that the bride’s cry brought good luck)

Then the bride would sit on a mat, and her mother-in-law would put a gold coin in her palm. This gold coin was believed to be a symbol of good luck and abundance. Henna was then smeared on the palms, fingertips, and toes of the bride, a woman who was now considered to have a happy marriage. The bride’s unmarried girlfriends would also rub henna on their hands, believing that this would get them married soon.

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

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