Henna parties (in hebrew חינה) are held for most Middle Eastern brides — Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike — and are often celebrated a few days before the wedding with close women friends and family. Often, both mothers feed the bride from trays of Middle Eastern delicacies, including sugar, honey, olives, and almonds — all things sweet, nothing sour. More recently, Henna ceremonies are included in the wedding reception instead of before the big day. Here’s a short snippet of a jewish henna ceremony in San Francisco from E&M’s wedding celebration.
Concerning the music in a Henna, the most popular band in Henna ceremonies for Sephardic jews is Sfatayim
Sfatayim (Hebrew: שפתיים, [sfaˈtajim], “lips”) was a rock band from Sderot, Israel. The band is considered to have consolidated an Israeli Moroccan style, blending the music of the mostly Moroccan immigrants of Sderot with international rock. The lead singer was Haïm Ulliel.
Here are some classic tracks of Sfatayim that are used in Henna’s –
More information about a Henna –
The Henna ceremony is typically held a week before the wedding ceremony. During the henna ceremony the bride wears elaborate gowns (Traje de Berberisca) as well as an ornate headdress styled as a foot tall crown and luxurious beads and jewels as she has her hands and feet dyed with decorative henna designs. Simultaneously there is much festivity taking place with song and folk dance. The bride’s guests typically participate in receiving henna designs as well and in some communities the groom will also have henna dye applied to him. In the Moroccan Jewish tradition the bride may change her costume three times- each one being more elaborate than the previous. In the Yemenite tradition the groom also wears an elaborate costume, albeit he only wears one.
The festivities include not only song and dance but a festive meal. These festivities are meant to prepare the bride for her departure from her family’s home. According to custom the word Henna, which is pronounced as Chenah, is an acronym that represents the three mitzvot(commandments) which are specific to married women: Challah (separating the challah), Niddah (family purity) and Hadlakat Nayrot (lighting Shabbat candles). Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak, France 11thcentury) explained that henna is a sign of forgiveness and absolution, showing that God forgave the Israelites who tested Him in the Wilderness. By analogy, the bride and groom start off with a clean slate as they begin their new lives together.