Henna Night – Kına Gecesi, a favorite of Turkish Brides

Source for the text and lyrics (but not translation) below: http://www.demturkishcenter.com/turkish-wedding-henna-night/

Kina Gecesi, Henna Night is one of the traditional Turkish wedding customs in Turkey. It’s a women’s party before the wedding. The brides friends and family members gather to eat, dance and sing before the bride leaves her mother’s home crying. It is called “henna night” because they put henna on their hands.

Traditionally kina gecesi starts at girl’s house one or two days before the wedding. Usually friends and relatives are invited. A flag is hanged and this shows that the wedding has started. The guests are offered dried fruit and juices and they sing and dance altogether. The bride dressed in a nice evening gown wears a bindallı (a long velvet gown) and her head is covered with a red cloth before they henna her hands. The henna is mixed on a tray with candles. A young lady with the henna tray, the bride and the girls holding candles walk around the chair in the middle of the room by singing and dancing. Then the bride sits on the chair and other women sing sad songs to make the bride cry because she is leaving home. They put henna into bride’s palm and then the henna is offered to the guests. After the henna they keep singing and dancing.

And of course, the must-have folk song at henna night is Yuksek Yuksek Tepelere:

Yüksek yüksek tepelere ev kurmasınlar
Aşrı aşrı memlekete kız vermesinler
Annesinin bir tanesini hor görmesinler
Uçanda kuşlara malum olsun
Ben annemi özledim
Hem annemi hem babamı
Ben köyümü özledim
Babamım bir atı olsa binse de gelse
Annemin yelkeni olsa açsa da gelse
Kardeşlerim yollarımı bilse de gelse
Uçanda kuşlara malum olsun
Ben annemi özledim
Hem annemi hem babamı
Ben köyümü özledim
Uçanda kuşlara malum olsun
Ben annemi özledim
Hem annemi hem babamı
Ben köyümü özledim

To High Hills
Versions: #1#2
They shouldn't build homes high up on the hills
They shouldn't give girls (as bride) to faraway lands
They shouldn't look down on her mother's one and only
 
It shall be come to feel to the flying birds
I miss my mother
Both my mother and my father
I miss my village
 
If my father had a horse and could only get on it to come here
If my mother had a sail and could only hoist it to come here
If my siblings could only know all the way to come to me
 
It shall be come to feel to the flying birds
I miss my mother
Both my mother and my father
I miss my village
https://lyricstranslate.com

In The High Hills
Versions: #1#2
Don't let them build a home in the high hills
Don't let them give girls (as bride) to faraway countries
Don't let them to disdain the mother's one and only
 
Let the flying birds sense this
I miss my mother
Both my mother and my father
I miss my village
 
I wish my father had a horse so he would ride it to come to me
I wish my mother had a sail so she'd set it to come to me
I wish my siblings had known my adress so they'd come to me
 
Let the flying birds sense this
I miss my mother
Both my mother and my father
I miss my village
https://lyricstranslate.com

Here’s a first-hand description of a modern ceremony: http://www.istanbulinspired.com/2016/09/traditional-turkish-henna-night-ceremony/

For a modern take on Henna Night, see https://www.dailysabah.com/feature/2017/01/21/the-perfect-henna-night-transformation-of-a-traditional-turkish-wedding-ritual

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