Halal Hen Do’s – Is this integration of the eastern and western trends eventually going to supersede the traditional henna ceremonies? Our Features Writer explores further…..
During the past decade we have seen a huge demand for the halal industry, in travel; in food; in culture, so that now this booming trend is challenging our creative spirits. ere has been a slow transition from the original henna ceremony, preparing the bride for her wedding day in a somewhat smaller, fun- lled celebration, which could be called a western henna ceremony. Is the ritual of dancing round with henna plates eventually going to fade out, or is the bridal shower an addition taken from western culture and here to stay, alongside the traditional mehndi ceremonies?
It is exciting to witness this quirky innovation, although a bit scary as we may lose out on the ancient traditional rituals altogether in the future. Along with the traditional generation of our grandmothers and aunties fading out, there is the upcoming millennial generation taking charge, with their Pintrest inspired ideas. is part of Muslim wedding culture is de nitely evolving very fast. ere is change happening for sure; is this for better or for worse?
Moving on to the halal hen do: What does it basically consist of ? When you think of a hen do, usually it’s a load
of girls on a night out with lots of penis shaped novelties, heading o to a strip club; okay shall we explain the Muslim version then? Basically it’s a girl’s hen party without the sexual explicitness and alcohol, a bit more conservative, and acceptable according to the Muslim culture, but it has to FUN, yes halal fun.
Usually the organiser creates a large what’s app group, including everyone except the bride, getting all the favours and talents she can from friends and family, usually the female sisters and cousins. A small budget and a trip down to the nearest pound shop just to create a mini personalised ceremony for the bride. e theme, well, apparently that is up to you but one we have recently seen is the Alice in Wonderland theme. I have personally created a Chronicles of Narnia winter wonderland theme for my own wedding, but in my head I wanted to be the white witch arriving in my sleigh. Technically I couldn’t arrive to my wedding in a sleigh, that would shock everyone, I would have loved to see their reaction – lol – but, unfortunately, I had to opt for the sensible option of a horse and carriage, arriving as Cinderella (sad face), I did, though, get the white horses!!
Often it can happen at a surprise venue, hotel or, if you have the time and budget, even abroad; a retreat maybe? Even though getting everyone together can be somewhat of an organisational nightmare; in fact impossible based on my experience.
Okay, so where’s the meaning here? Holy water (Zam Zam) and honey are considered sacred so these are created in special jars, usually customised with an Islamic message, either handed out or left on the table as favours. Not to forget the cake, there has to be a cake, who makes it? Usually someone in the family who’s a fan of baking and decorating cakes, even teenage girls get to try out their cup-cake skills and the day is captured through endless Snap-chat and Insta stories.
Basically it’s a girl’s hen party without the sexual explicitness and alcohol….
e bride usually dresses how she wants. Casual silk PJ’s, Glam Queen, Bond Girl. Be whoever you want to be, ‘it may be your last chance’ is usually the cheeky message behind this. Okay so can you dress up as the red sexy devil then? (Cough- cough, eyes rolling up). Just shut up and sit back down, the devil is de nitely not allowed. is is Muslim Bridal Shower.
So what lies ahead? A ‘halal stag do’ maybe?
It’s all about creativity, imagination and expression, we all have it in us and a wedding is usually a great time to showcase these skill sets, but underneath it all it’s a gesture of expression and a loving bon-voyage to the bride to be.
Written by Tahira Khan Senior Features Writer