Travelling Turkey

Kina Gecesi (Henna Night)

I love this picture and the detail in the Henna prompted me to share a very traditional occasion for Turks called Kina Gecesi (Henna Night). Henna Night is held before the wedding and generally takes place amongst the brides closet female friends and family members.

It’s a ceremony steeped in history and folklore, and for many brides is a melancholic evening. The night is filled with food. music,dance and a henna ceremony. Before the henna ceremony the bride will change into traditional dress, called a ‘bindali’. This beautiful ensemble is usually red velvet, adored with sequence and satin and a red sheer veil to cover her face. The bride, accompanied by her close friends will make her way into the centre of the room and be seated next to the groom.

There is a song that is sung called “Yuksek Tepeler”, quite a sad song and usually guarantees there won’t be a dry eye in the house !! The mother-in-law will attempt to put some henna in the palm of the brides hand, but she will refuse until her mother-in-law puts a gold coin (symbolising wealth and good luck) in her palms. Only after receiving the gold coin will the bride accept the henna in the palms of her hands. The henna tray is then passed around the guest. The groom is then lead away and the women continue with celebrations through the evening.

Tradition holds that for as long as the henna stain appears on the bride, she doesn’t have to do any housework! Also, the darker the stain the better the marriage and the better the mother-in-law will be! So you can imagine why the bride would want the stain to come out dark and last as long as possible !!