The other day I went to a friend’s Henna party. The overall atmosphere was great and I had so much fun being there and watching the girls enjoy their time dancing and signing and having pleasant and unforgettable moments in the company of the people they love and care about.
The theme of the night was ‘Indian’, so the bride and her sisters and also the kids wore Indian costumes, and so did I. For those of you who know the Arab Henna Party traditions, you would know that there is usually this ‘Sufra’ thing, where there would be various kinds of decorations and beautifully designed pots and glassware, and of course giveaways. This is originally an Iranian tradition, but now it has become widely practiced amongst so many people, who consider it an important part of the wedding festivities.
‘Sufra’ could be done in different ways, and now that it has become this popular, you would find endless creative ways to do it. The more I see of it, the more convinced I am of the fact that it is nothing like it used to be anymore. Nowadays it tends to be inventive and also innovative. People are coming with all sorts of ideas to make their ‘Sufras’ look more dazzling and appealing to the eyes!
Here are examples of different Sufras:
Of course these are only samples I have found on the internet, but I have seen much more beautiful Sufras that took my breath away! Anyhow, back to the Henna party I went to, the giveaways they had were colored coffee cups covered with small pieces of glittering chiffon cloth. Inside those cups, there was Henna, sprinkled with red and green glitters; just like the bride’s dress. They gave me six cups, and because I knew I would not use them all, I had to empty some of the Henna inside so it would not dry up and go to waste. So I went to my bathroom and put those cups under the tap, for the henna to be washed away. While I was doing that, I could smell the fragrant smell of the henna. It was so strong that I just could not do anything but stand there sniffing it with a wide smile on my face; indulging in its magical and unique aroma. I am a henna person by the way, I just go weak in the knees at the sight of henna and I would be so proud and jubilant every time I had my hands painted with henna.
The one thing you probably do not know about what henna does to me is that it fills me with a strange and overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. I did experience it while I was washing those cups of the henna. It always reminds me of something ancient and pure and worthy. It makes me think of happiness in the true sense of the word. When I smell henna, I see myself going back in time, when my cousins and I would have our hands painted with henna for Eids and weddings. That was always the first thing we thought of, amongst our other endless preparations for Eids and wedding parties alike.
Henna makes me nostalgic for days that would never come back, for a childhood I will always remember with pride and fondness.
Henna is a symbol for the past, and a future I cannot fully see. It is a token of love and remembrance, and a ticket to a rare kind of joy and happiness. It is the identity that has preserved its value over so many generations which I cannot even keep track of.
It is love.. It is joy.. It is the smile of a happy and a proud bride. It is learning how to belong to something that spiritually means a lot to you.
It is my secret nostalgia!