Henna Traditional Ceremony in Turkey

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Henna Traditional Ceremony in Turkey

One of the unique Muslim traditions came to our days from the ancient times. A henna night was celebrated for a bride, where she said goodbye to her parents and showed readiness for marriage and new life. Usually a groom and a bride had never seen each other before. That was the reason why henna ceremony was held in a groom’s house so that a bride could get used to a new place and people.

Our days henna ceremony is organized at any place in Turkey. Some nontraditional people can make a celebration at a restaurant or cafe. However, traditions of carrying out henna ceremony remains unchanged. This ritual is a big step for each girl because henna ceremony is held once in a life. Only female relatives from both sides may come and celebrate a henna evening ceremony. A shy bride wears a red turtleneck-closed dress and a red veiling over her eyes.  Women guests are served Turkish sweets, fruits, dried fruits, and nuts.  There is a tradition to dance around the bride and shower her with coins. That ritual is considered to bring the bride future fertility and richness. However, female guests sing sad songs to the bride about leaving parents and moving to a new place. She cries. And as the bridal tradition says the more a bride cries the happier her future life in marriage will be. 

Later when dancing around the bride is over, a mother-in-law brings henna and lit candles on a silver tray. An official part of lightening henna ritual starts. Lit candles symbolize love flame of a groom and a bride.  A mother-in-law puts henna and a golden coin in a bride’s hand.  The bride squishes henna in her hands.  Later red small bags are put on her hands.  The sad part of the ritual finishes.

One of female guests who is happy in marriage starts to draw beautiful patterns and the groom’s name initials with henna on a bride’s hands and feet. That tradition shows that a woman who draws passes on her ability to have a happy marriage life. An interesting ritual continues when a groom has to find his name initials on hands or feet of the bride on a wedding night.  If he doesn't find his name initials, he must give a present to his wife.  Nowadays a groom may celebrate henna tradition on a bridal shower as well.  In that case henna patterns are drawn on both grooms and bride’s hands and feet. Other female guests paint henna patterns to each other. The henna tradition finishes after all the guests dance and eat Turkish food.

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