Henna in Hadera

The hina ceremony is colorful, romantic and entertaining, but in the early years of the state it went underground.

May 6, 2015 12:17

The writer’s son and daughter-in-law hold up their hennaed hands for a photo-op.. (photo credit: YEHUDIT HELFON)


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Ask anyone who knows anything about a hina (the Hebrew for a pre-wedding henna ceremony) any question about it – ask them if they had one before they got married; ask about the last one they saw; ask if they’ve been to a Moroccan or Yemenite or Indian hina – and what’s the first reaction you get? Watch the face: You’ll get a smile, even before they begin telling you how much they enjoyed it.

The hina is a spectacle, a romantic comedy, an interactive musical with spicy dancing to a stimulating beat; it’s fabulous, colorful costumes, sometimes against a special stage set, and always good, ethnic food that’s heavy on the sweet side. It’s Purim in July (or whenever) – a warm, friendly celebration of the exotic and familial, traditional and trendy. So what’s not to like? Although hina celebrations came to Israel with the immigrants from North Africa and Asia, you don’t have to be Sephardi to attend one. Today you don’t even need to know someone who married into a Sephardi family, although it still helps. Yehudit Enoshi, who arranges celebrations in the style of old Tripoli, says she recently prepared a hina for an Ashkenazi bride-to-be marrying an Ashkenazi guy.


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