Azerbaijan’s most colourful wedding traditions - Henna party

Baku, March 12, AZERTAC

The wedding is one of the most beautiful and richest embodiments of the spiritual values of Azerbaijan, the land of fire, where the ‘wedding’ actually means the last stage in the modern process of marriage, the final celebration with a dinner-dance.

The festive meaning of wedding is illustrated in Azerbaijan’s oldest surviving literature, in the “Kitabi-Dada Gorgud” epic - common heritage of Turkic world recognized by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage of humanity, that reads: “Once a year, Bayandur, the khan of the khans organized a wedding (toy-duyun) and invited the Oghuz bays too”.

In Azerbaijan, the wedding consisted of several stages: approval of the bride (matchmaking), proposing marriage, engagement (betrothal) and a wedding party.

One of the famous wedding customs is the ‘khinayakhdi’ (all the girls and women dyed their hair and decorated their hands with henna).

A few days before the wedding, the groom’s family brought a ram tied with a red ribbon and food. As evening approached, the women gathered in the bride’s home. The groom’s mother, sisters, close female relatives and neighbours prepared a khoncha and went to the bride’s house for the ‘khinayakhdi’ ceremony.

In ancient times, it was believed that the henna waves off the evil spirits and bad luck. Today the henna designs are very elegant and are usually done only for aesthetic purposes.

Besides henna for the bride, two decorated candles, some sugar, tea, sweetmeats and fruit, there was a pair of shoes on the khoncha. Everybody in the party played and danced until midnight. After dinner, the girls dyed each other’s hands and feet with henna, accompanied by song. This was the last wedding ceremony in the bride’s home.



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