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Turkish wedding customs: Henna night

Kina Gecesi, Henna Night is one of the traditional Turkish wedding customs in Turkey. It’s a women’s party before the wedding. The brides friends and family members gather to eat, dance and sing before the bride leaves her mother’s home crying. It is called “henna night” because they put henna on their hands.

Traditionally kina gecesi starts at girl’s house one or two days before the wedding. Usually friends and relatives are invited. A flag is hanged and this shows that the wedding has started. The guests are offered dried fruit and juices and they sing and dance altogether. The bride dressed in a nice evening gown wears a bindallı (a long velvet gown) and her head is covered with a red cloth before they henna her hands. The henna is mixed on a tray with candles. A young lady with the henna tray, the bride and the girls holding candels walk around the chair in the middle of the room by singing and dancing. Then the bride sits on the chair and other women sing sad songs to make the bride cry because she is leaving home. They put henna into bride’s palm and then the henna is offered to the guests. After the henna they keep singing and dancing.

And of course, the must-have folk song at henna night is Yuksek Yuksek Tepelere:

Listen to Yuksek yuksek Tepelere folks song by Candan Ercetin

Yüksek yüksek tepelere ev kurmasınlar
Aşrı aşrı memlekete kız vermesinler
Annesinin bir tanesini hor görmesinler
Uçanda kuşlara malum olsun
Ben annemi özledim
Hem annemi hem babamı
Ben köyümü özledim
Babamım bir atı olsa binse de gelse
Annemin yelkeni olsa açsa da gelse
Kardeşlerim yollarımı bilse de gelse
Uçanda kuşlara malum olsun
Ben annemi özledim
Hem annemi hem babamı
Ben köyümü özledim
Uçanda kuşlara malum olsun
Ben annemi özledim
Hem annemi hem babamı
Ben köyümü özledim

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