I was going to title this “That Time We Went to Our Security Guard’s Daughter’s Wedding Party”… but that seemed a little long.
I was so excited when I found out the teachers were invited to a henna party. Henna parties are a part of Turkish wedding celebrations. Traditionally, only women attend and the event is held in a home. However, this was a modern celebration in a banquet hall with both men and women.
It’s customary to give gold as a wedding gift. We pooled some money and our friends purchased gold pieces. I was told that years ago, people wore gold clipped to their clothing to show off their wealth. Gold jewelry and pieces of gold are prized in Turkish culture and passed down from generation to generation.
(Please forgive the graininess of the iPod photos.) Here’s the bride and groom:
There was lots of dancing! We were served an appetizer plate, fruit plate, nut plate, and cake. Check out the flame thrower on the cake:
Before the henna ceremony, one of the sisters came around and passed out white veils to most of the women. I’m not sure of the symbolism:
The bride put on a traditional red dress and red veil. One woman held the henna tray, and the rest of us followed behind the bride and walked in a circle. The women sang a song and carried candles.
Then came the henna application. The bride was supposed to initially refuse to open her hand, symbolizing the struggle of leaving her family. Next, the mother of the groom put a gold coin in her hand and applied henna over the coin. The groom got some henna, too.
After the ceremony, they came around with henna for everyone else. We also received a bag of nuts and a small pouch of henna. The henna stain on the guests’ hands show they know someone who just got married.
It was a really cool cultural experience, and we were honored to celebrate with our friend.
Read more about Turkish henna parties at these websites: