A Chaldean Henna Party with an Indian Twist

by Weam Namou

My cousin and his fiancée decided to have an Indian-themed Chaldean henna. I thought this a wonderful idea and an opportunity for me to buy my first sari.

For over five thousand years henna has been a symbol of good luck, health, fertility and sensuality in many parts of the world. The art of henna (called Mehndi in Hindi & Urdu) has been practiced in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East, and it has led to “the Henna Night.”

The henna night is where the bride, her family, relatives and friends get together to celebrate the wedding to come. The vibrant and colorful night is filled with games, music and dance performances. Sometimes guests get henna patterns done on their hands.

In the old traditional way, the groom’s family would dance through the streets of the village until reaching the house of the bride. When the men enter where the bride is, the bride-to-be and groom-to-be are united. Their mothers then get both their hands done with henna. The bride-to-be usually gets gold jewelry as a gift. For Muslims, this is where the groom offers the bride her mahr, a mandatory required amount of money or possessions paid by the groom to the bride at the time of marriage, for her exclusive use.

Adopting beautiful traditions from other countries, while honoring one’s own traditions, is a profound statement. It is one way of saying “Namaste” to the world.