A fighter for freedom and justice from Palestine, Gaza.

Photos: Palestinian Traditional Henna Party

Me taken by the beauty of our Palestinian traditions

Me taken by the beauty of our Palestinian traditions

These are some photos from my cousin Rawan’s traditional Henna party on Sunday, December 16. I can’t tell you how unique that was. Everything was traditional, even the decoration. Everyone came wearing Palestinian traditional dresses. As the guests’ original villages were different, their traditional dresses were different as. I had so much fun comparing their dresses and I reached one conclusion which is that the bride’s dress was certainly the most beautiful.

No modern music was played at all. Women exchanged roles: some played drums, some danced while others sang traditional songs that they orally learned from their mothers and grandmothers. Moreover, the young girls including Sarah, Roba, Amjad and I performed Dabka, the fork dancing of Palestine. We enjoyed every moment!

During the Henna party, a woman took responsibility of painting Henna on the girls’ hands one after another starting with the bride. We all have different shapes of Henna paints on our hands and everyone is proud, showing off hers to the others.

At the end of the Henna party, we served Summaqiya to the guests. Summaqiyya is a traditional kind of food that our grandparents used to serve for guests in their weddings in our original villages and it has become a basic custom in the Palestinian people’s weddings. Some relatives arrived early this morning and cooked a huge amount. It was so delicious that Sarah and I had two big dishes on our own! I think it was made with so much love for Rawan.

My grandmother used to describe to me vividly how their weddings looked like. Today, I felt emotional while recalling my grandmother’s description and glancing some of her memories from the old days as watching the women celebrating. By reviving our traditions, I could feel our grandparents alive again. I hate it when I observe how badly our Palestinian traditions and customs got influenced by TV and modern and western music and culture. Nothing is as good as our precious heritage. Thanks Rawan for bringing us back to the old days, the days that our grandparents used to live peacefully in Beit-Jerja and Deir-Sneid. We shall return and finish the olive harvest that our grandparents had to leave behind assuming that they would return in a matter of two weeks to continue it.

The bride is getting a Henna painting on her hand

The bride is getting a Henna painting on her hand

Bakhour "incense"

Bakhour “incense”

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We were here going on a circle and repeating after my aunt while singing traditional songs.

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My lovely grandmother was the main singer. She can memorize thousands of traditional songs

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Noor, the bride’s sister

Our beautiful bride Rawan is the one that having a red flower sticking in her hair

Our beautiful bride Rawan is the one that having a red flower sticking in her hair

Me on the right and my cousins, the bride's sisters, in the Henna Party

Me on the right and my cousins, the bride’s sisters, in the Henna Party

Different designs of Palestinian embroidery

Different designs of Palestinian embroidery

That's me :)

That’s me :)

Women wearing traditional dresses and dancing. The woman who's dancing on the right is my aunt, the bride's mother.

Women wearing traditional dresses and dancing. The woman who’s dancing on the right is my aunt, the bride’s mother.

I performed a Dabka performance while carrying the pottery imitating how Palestinian women  before 1948 used to take potteries and go to fill it with water from a well in their  village.

I performed a Dabka performance while carrying the pottery imitating how Palestinian women before 1948 used to take potteries and go to fill it with water from a well in their village.

My Henna design

My Henna design

My grandmother is singing and playing drums and I am repeating after her

My grandmother is singing and playing drums and I am repeating after her

13 responses

  1. Pretty women!

    Like

    December 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm

  2. skulz fontaine

    My Dear Sister Shahd:
    Thank you for sharing this. Puts an actual face on Palestine. One that isn’t, at the moment, covered in horror.
    I’ll bet that Grandmother can sing like an angel.
    Blessing be upon you.
    peace and respect,
    Skulz

    Like

    December 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm

  3. TAE

    Nice to see you smile.

    Like

    December 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm

  4. Dea Koert

    thanks for this wonderful information Shahd. Sometimes on the market I look to the painted hands of Arab women with admiration. I can’t get my eyes off. I only paint my nails.

    Like

    December 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm

  5. Jeannine

    Very beautiful!! Thank you sister for showing us this lovely side of Palestine!

    LONG LIVE PALESTINE!

    Peace to All!!

    -Jeannine

    Like

    December 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm

  6. Culture, the intricate fabric of the history of a nation, beautiful to see and hear.

    Like

    December 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm

  7. Brilliant and intelligent ladies! Thanks for showing us your heads held high, you are all magnificent!

    Like

    December 19, 2012 at 12:25 am

  8. John Sturzaker

    It is wonderful to see that at least for those moments everything was so NORMAL.
    Ironicaly while reveering the old ways you were able to share via the very modern way.

    Like

    December 19, 2012 at 12:26 am

  9. Mashallah!!! As beautiful as the character Amjad, in the muqawama in Filastin that was brilliantly depicted in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning book, “Palestine,” in which actual history and future predictions are cloaked in fiction.

    Like

    December 19, 2012 at 1:29 am

  10. Norma Susana Hassan

    Gracias por compartir esas preciosas fotografías. Viva Palestina Libre !!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    December 19, 2012 at 3:33 am

  11. A pesar de masacre que sufre el pueblo palestino, su gente sabe sonreirle a la adversidad, una demostración de su inquebrantable voluntad de ser libres. “Grande Palestina”.

    Like

    December 20, 2012 at 11:15 pm

  12. Thankyou for a wonderful post and pictures. Always wondered what a traditional palestinian henna party looked like – meaning without imported customs etc. Keep up the good work!

    Like

    December 21, 2012 at 3:21 am

  13. Lovely tradition as it is~!
    And it made me wondering of how Summaqiya is.. Would be great if you post the picture or maybe how to cook it :)

    Like

    December 21, 2012 at 11:58 am

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