Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The henna party - Part 2 of Katie's Wedding Weekend

Once we got off the bus in NJ, we walked up the hill to Ipek's house where she was throwing a henna party for Katie. This is sort of the Turkish equivalent of a bachelorette party, only there aren't ever any strippers, or bar crawls. There's a little ceremony where the groom's family gives the bride to be gold pieces (which are as good as cash in hand) and everyone celebrates with a little henna staining on their hands. I was a smidge disappointed because when I heard henna party I thought we'd be doing something cool like in India where they decorate their hands with henna in beautiful designs. This is not the case in Turkey. Nope, you just plop a little henna down in your palm or whatnot and go on your merry way. Nonetheless, I came home with a little packet of the stuff, and I think it'll be fun to play with (we can do a henna design party anyway).

Because it was so cold in the city we were the first people to show up. The henna party is for girls only, but Brad did hang out for awhile until Bekir showed up to take him back to NYC for the bachelor party at a Brazilian steakhouse. Once he was gone most of the ladies showed up. Several of Katie's friends from the city and from college were there, along with my mom and Bekir's family (sister, mother, aunts, grandmother and cousins).
Ipek did Katie's make-up and Bekir's mom dressed her in a green sparkly "robe" and put a red scarf on her head. She sat at a table and they brought out a tray with candles and a bowl of henna (which I'd earlier mistaken for spinach dip - but thankfully did not sample). They sang a little song (of which I understood zilch, but it was fun anyway) and did a little ceremony with the giving of the gold coins and the henna. They tied a red bag around Katie's hand with the gold and henna and she then passed around the bowl of henna for everyone else to put a smidge in their hands. This was fun, but mild disappointment ensued when the American girls figured out there wouldn't be any pretty designs (see, it wasn't just me). That was pretty much the entire ceremony.
After the ceremony we had some new and interesting Turkish dishes to sample and there were plenty of drinks to go around. I tried 3 different kinds of pasta salad, 2 different kinds of hummus, some red relishy stuff on bread and crazy amazing brownies made by Bekir's mom. The party was all in all a good time, but we had to drive about 45 minutes back to the hotel and Brad did not come back to get us until about midnight (we were not the happiest campers ever).

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