- On 05/10/2021
- In Tips for travellers Turkish Culture
- Tags: Henna, istanbul, turkish culture
What is Henna? Henna in Istanbul
What is the Meaning of Henna?
In dictionaries, henna is described as “A reddish-brown dye made from powdered leaves of a tropical shrub and used to dye hair and adorn body,”. In Turkish culture, it means a very important ritual of the bride before her wedding ceremony. All family and friends come together and dye the hand of the bride-to-be, singing and dancing to celebrate their new family with blessings.
Henna In Turkish Culture
Turkey, contrary to popular belief, is not a homogeneous country in terms of culture, each corner of the country has its own diverse regional culture. However, as religious factor is something in common (90% of population is made up of Muslims), certain types of traditions are present throughout Turkish territory, such as night of henna (Kina Gecesi) and festival of circumcision.
Henna night is usually held a night before the wedding ceremony, where only women, bride, her friends, and family participate. Generally, the ceremony held at the home of the bride or her friends, but in more modern cities there are organization houses or hotels dedicated to the event.
The bride wears a red or burgundy dress (but they can be in other colors like green, pink, navy blue) and sits in the middle of the room. Bride hands will paint with henna, and the future mother-in-law will have to place a coin of gold in one of her hands. After this rite, they all start dancing and celebrating their future marriage.
Is the Same Thing as Tattoo?
Even if it looks similar to a tattoo in shape, it’s different in means of ingredients because henna derives from leaves of shrubs since ancient times. On the other hand, tattoo has been popular in modern world in last few centuries and due to its chemical components, it was not a common tradition among people until recently.
How Does it Work?
Powdered leaves are blended with water and applied to any part of the body with your preferred design, and then there will be a long waiting period for them to dry.
During this process, natural color of the plant settles under skin and remains there for about a month, which is a time also depends on washing frequency and used leaves quality.
Where the Henna Comes From?
Henna origin is not certain, but it was a very common medical treatment in ancient periods. We see henna culture from India to Egypt and Pakistan to Anatolia, all around the Middle East it’s applied to color body, celebrate festivals, and occasional days. It is also used to relieve anxieties in the body by applying it to fingers and feet, which have more nerve cells.
Is it Harmful to my body?
Due to natural ingredients, it’s not harmful to human body but in highly allergic bodies it can cause damage, so please be careful to apply to sensitive people. Until recent years, women dyed their hair with natural henna to protect them from skin problems and dermatological skin diseases.
Some visitors who are doing private Istanbul tours with local tour guides, are interested in henna and traditional henna tatto. In case if you advise us of your interest in advance, we can make an appointment for you from Istanbul’s best henna artists and your tour guide will assist you within your tour day
Please feel free to contact Guided Istanbul Tours, regarding customized Istanbul tour itineraries or personal interest tours.
Henna workshops in Istanbul are one of the most popular activities in recent years, please don’t hesitate to advise our team if you would like to join one.
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