The women mill around dressed in their best, donned with enough gold to destabilise the world economy and enough silk to set the house on fire, tunes from Naima Dziriya blaring from an old CD player in the corner, it is loud, so very loud. The women screech louder to be heard, all smiles and laughter and admiration for eachothers attires and jewellery.
It’s Wednesday, the night of the Henna, a few days before the wedding, all the women gather around at the bride’s house, the Algerian version of the Hen night.
The bride walks in one of the many dresses she purchased for the wedding, her hair so intricately styled it looks untouchable, make up looks slightly less extravagant to the naked eye but on close inspection looks about 10 mms deep, you can actually smell it.
The bride walks in escorted by two young girls holding two long twisted candles, the women ululate incessantly; she sits on a throne of red velvet cushions embroided with golden threads.
An elderly relative dressed in a serwal Chelka (traditional trousers-skirt I guess) and a silk scarf around her hair is mixing a bowl of henna, she adds an egg, some rose water and sings a Henna lullaby to commemorate the ritual, a dollop of the mixture is put in the middle of the right palm and spread in a small circle, then a silk mitt is used to cover the hand. More ululations explode in the air, a feel of bliss and romance fills the ether and the bride’s mother sheds a tear, traditionally because her daughter is leaving the family home, but everybody knows it’s the lullaby, so damn sentimental.
After the bride, it’s the bride’s younger sister to have henna applied to her hand and then every other single girl present, all hoping to follow suit and get married before her one day.
Mint tea is served accompanied with one of the hundreds of almond cake variety there is and everybody is on a sugar high. Music gets louder, everybody starts showing off their best dance moves they learnt in the belly dance classes they’ve been taking or copied from the latest Assala* music video.
The aftermath; no hangovers, just a load of makeup to remove, physical damage is minimal if you don’t count the ear drum perforation and the odd injury sustained through the customary evil eye.
Would have been good to get a bit drunk!
A night wasted of my life I’ll never get back!
I am super jealous happy!
Meanwhile, in London, about half a dozen girls go out to town to celebrate Sally’s hen party, the hen posse are dressed in coordinated dresses, with legs that start here (around my breasts) , and array of perfumes, fake tans and make up to cause a sense-seizure, they’re loud, so very loud.
As they enter the restaurant gaggling, in their coordinated pink sashes “brides maids” and the bride’s L plate, veil and flashing tiara, all the punters stare and think “oh no…it’s about to get loud in here”.
Dinner and drinks are served; and out comes the penis shaped straws and an a giant inflatable one that sits next to the bride whilst all the girls pose for pictures with the centre piece, loud and incessant laughter fills the place, within 2 hours, everybody is sufficiently drunk and collectively the girls hold enough alcohol to set the house on fire. The mother of the bride leaves after dinner and the girls loose their inhibitions – yes only now!
To the relief of the punters and waiters, dinner is finished and the girls move on to the next venue, a night club, their tacky limousine awaits and they all get in without showing too much cleavage or knickers. The pink posse enter the bar, the lonely boys at the bar rejoice at the prospect of an easy pull with blondie no. 2 or 5 whichever…
They dance around the club grinding against every single guy available, as if the pink sash is their license to behave like total tarts with no judgment passed; they’re just here for their friends’ hen party after all! Give me one of those sashes I tell ya!!
A few gallons of novelty cocktails and questionable shots later (drunk through the penis shaped straws naturally)…TROUBLE! A few scenarios go like this:
One passes out in the club toilet and has to be rescued by the “mother” hen, this might be the bride’s actual mother but we already decided she sensibly and thankfully (who wants to go clubbing with their mother anyway) left straight after dinner, so she’ll probably be rescued by the toilet attendant who’ll most probably charge her the costmary £1 because she had to use a splash of her perfume to wake her up.
One or two might go home with someone and wake up somewhere dubious, but mostly the girls will stumble out drunk onto the street to hail a cab, the limousine company probably refused to hire out for afters for obvious reasons…cab drivers won’t want to take them because they’re too drunk and disorderly and don’t want to risk the puke in their cabs.
The aftermath, the group is dispersed, major hangovers, headaches, losses occurred include handbag, oyster card, jewellery, phone and with any luck the flashing tiara.
Should have gone to a spa and traditional English tea like normal people.
Had a brill time!
How much did it actually cost?
Oh my head hurts!
Having experienced both celebrations (the latter only from afar), not passing any judgment, only commenting on the cultural differences of the celebration.
Hoping to experience an amalgamation of this celebratory event between the Algerian and the British traditions.
Our Diaspora here will perhaps create a halfway style of this cultural phenomenon that is fun, fabulous and classy, keeping the best of both worlds. No bingo games allowed.
Dz-chick…sending hints to her soon-to-be-bride pal! I am not wearing pink velour!
* Lebanese singer
Dz-Chick : Marriage is a (too)recurrent theme in your blog. I think it's time to get married and get done with it hbibti! :)ReplyDelete
Have a pending hen party actually...not mine!ReplyDelete
I like it...it's great to read the differences and similarities, very well written too.ReplyDelete
Look forward to more of your posts Dz-Chick.
I am sure you'll go far in your genre, maybe publish a book one day.
Thanks a lot Lisa. admittedly this isn't one of my best ones but with the hen night looming, I couldn't help but write...ReplyDelete
Book you say? maybe one day...
oh oui ça serait bien un livre!ReplyDelete
Trouves moi un publisher Mina!ReplyDelete
Je t'organiserai ta HEN-NA-NIGHT. Tu peux compter sur moi, et tu sais que j'ai du gout !ReplyDelete
D'ailleurs, j'y pense..je n'ai ni eu ni de Hen Night ni de Henna. Il n'y pas encore prescription, donc on peut faire une joint party....non pas une party pour fumer de la zetla, je precise.ReplyDelete
You have garnered much vanity since our last. Too, you've mastered the art of butchering the English language. Is this what happens to all Algerian beauties?!
One should understand how to rub a verb against a noun in the correct context before declaring oneself an author.
Very probably you missed your calling. The near pretty word pictures you paint says you might have been a writer, rather than a sloppy author. The missing element being PLOT. You post it, it hangs in space like a limp puppet. No motivation for it. Thus, no belief in it. But you do try. Have you ever considered lesbian fiction? Plotting not required.
MTF ca marche ... Quand tu veux!ReplyDelete
Mus ..... Love you too
hi they will give you there correct sizes if you tell them the heightReplyDelete
My poor heart was ripped so viciously from me, flung to the ground, stomped on, and spat on. Since that awful period in
life, I no longer have a heart, nor the WOMAN.
Her name was Dz-Chick, and she deserted me for that stupid bloke! He has nothing that I don't have, in abundance. Can't you see that Mus is extremely upset over the injustice of it?
You are merely being kind in saying you love me. It ain't so. No woman wants a heartless and emotionless shell.
Anonymous don't get it!ReplyDelete
Mus I seem to have done something to piss you off! whatever it is, know that I've no idea what it is or who you are. care to explain please?
I never forget the day I caught the garter at a wedding.ReplyDelete
For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s the string/lace that holds the flower bouquet together (the one that is caught by the “lucky”woman).
As demanded by Western tradition, the man who catches the garter has to slip it up the foot of the bouquet catcher, slide it through her leg and all … the way … to her thigh….
Being the Gentlemen Algerian that I am (never did one-thigh stands before), I was reluctant. But the bouquet catcher woman insisted:
“more…go ahead, lift it up”, the crowd was cheering “go high, higher…” while her boyfriend assisted and insisted with a grin “GO ALL the WAY up man ! ”.
2 years later, I found myself in the same situation, and caught the garter more earnestly. This time, however, it was an indoor wedding, where the bouquet catcher helped herself by placing her foot on top of a chair, her high-split dress invited me (and the garter) inside... this time--with so much experience up my sleeve--i looked her right in the eyes as I worked my way up... all of sudden the music changed from AL Green's Let's Get Together, to Marvin Gaye's Let's Get it on...
Check out La Suite at Safia’s Story on this blog…
Here and there Quite the story! thanks :)ReplyDelete
Do you have one from a stag do?
Currently writing the next chapter on Safia watch this space...it's going to stirring...to say the least! so much so I am considering if it's a good idea at all to publish it!