Wedding ceremonies play an important role in our culture and are one of our most colourful traditions.
Wedding ceremonies are composed of a series of ceremonies connecting the houses of the bride and the bridegroom and celebrated between these two houses. On those occasions, relatives and friends join the ceremonies and celebrate the happy event together.
In most regions of Anatolia, the wedding ceremonies last for a week. The entertainment organized for the night before the wedding in the house of the bride among the women is called “henna night”.
Henna night is the most important element of wedding ceremonies. The bride takes part in the ceremony wearing a special dress. After sunset prayer, the women of the bridegroom’s house and the other guests meet at the house of the bride. Appetisers, cakes, desserts, and sweet fruit drinks are offered to the guests on large platters. The bride enters the room with young girls holding burning candles. There is music and folk dancing, and henna is put on the bride’s hands while an elderly woman says prayers. Henna is a plant of Indian and Arabian origin, which grows in the Middle East and Africa and is used to dye hair and nails. Dried henna leaves are ground and the resulting powder is mixed with water.
In some regions a gold coin is put in the bride’s hand and henna is applied to her hands. Her hand is tied with silk handkerchiefs. Henna has an important place in Turkish folklore. It is the theme of many proverbs and folk songs. To put henna on hands is a sign of joy. The custom of applying henna to the bride’s hands is accompanied by folk dances and folk songs. The following day is the wedding day, when the silk handkerchiefs are untied and the gold coin is presented to the bridegroom in a handkerchief. The bridegroom carries this coin as a symbol of fortune or sews it in his money pouch.
In some regions, one married and one unmarried woman apply the bride’s henna. The bride sits on a cushion and the henna is put in a silver bowl. The married woman applies the henna to her right hand and the unmarried woman applies henna to her other hand. Then the guests play folk dances and the entertainment continues until late at night. The henna is washed off on the wedding day. On the same day, henna is applied to the little finger of the bridegroom.
The dress, specially sewn for the purpose and carrying the characteristics of the region, is the most important piece of a bride’s trousseau. It is the most important inheritance from her mother and one that she will pass down to her daughter.
Though henna night has local characteristics in many regions, the object is the same everywhere and it still survives in many regions of Anatolia.
Shaving of the bridegroom is important in the wedding ceremony that continues for a week in Anatolia.
The bridegroom is brought to the barber together with family members first with prayers and then by drums and pipes. After being shaved accompanied by the drums and pipes, he prepares for the wedding ceremony.