Monday, July 6, 2009

The night of Thursday June 25th we went to Orhan's niece's Henna night.
Her name is Sevgi & the groom's name is Erkan.
In Turkey, there are several stages to getting married. We missed the first stage, which was the engagement - first the boys' family comes to ask the girls' family for permission to marry her. In older times, they didn't use to date, they would just come and ask permission, and then the dating period would be during the engagement. Nowadays in Turkey though, usually the boys family only comes because the boy & girl have already known each other for a while and they want to get married. So anyways, we missed that part, last year. Shortly after both parties agree to a marriage, they bride and groom perform an Imam Nikah - this is an Islamically recognized marriage. The same day they go the the government and get their government recognized marriage. Then the engagement period follows.
In Sevgi's case (Orhan's niece) it was a year because they wanted to wait for their Canadian relatives to come. In Derya's case (Sevgi's older sister), she didn't want to wait, when she got engaged, they had their wedding 3 months later (in 2002). We missed that one unfortunately.
Anyways, after the engagement period there are two nights to the wedding - the Henna night - and then the wedding. The Henna night is maybe something like a bachelorette party. It used to be that the men and the women celebrated it separately, but now most families have it mixed.
Basically the bride's family gets together and dances a lot, and then the groom's family arrives to join the fun - then they do the Henna - they sing a song about how sad it is that the bride is no longer going to live with her family - usually there is crying but this time the bride made her family promise not to cry, or she would cry and her make up would smear. They kept their promise.
The grooms family wants to spread Henna in the hand of the bride, but they have to give her a gift first or she won't open her hand - they put in a piece of gold (the gold tokens are fairly standard here, worth about $80 Turkish Lira or $60 Canadian). Then she opens her hand to receive the Henna. The bride's family does the same for the groom. The Henna symbolizes the celebration and the fun that everyone is having. Mehmed desperately wanted the Henna in his hand, but unfortunately we missed it - the grooms family chose to hand out individual packets instead of spreading Henna, and we were not in the room when they did that.
But just like at the circumcision party, Mehmed had lots of fun running everywhere and pretending to dance. He was quite dirty by the end of the night. I made another video, again a little bit long, but to see the different types of dancing (the chain dance is very traditional here and is called Halay- pronounced ha-lie), the bride and groom (he wears traditional green and she wears traditional red) and the Henna ceremony. You can also see Mehmed poking his nose as close as possible to the middle of the action everywhere you turn....Enjoy...
Oh and P.S. I had my scarf styled at a hairdresser who also does scarves. It turned out pretty neat and only cost $30 Turkish Lira ($23 or so Cdn)...

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