I have never felt more spiritually connected to a tradition or a way of life than I did last night at my former roommate Ben, and his beautiful fiancé Bar’s Henna celebration. I may have been born into an Eastern European family, but my soul is about as Sephardic and Middle Eastern as you can possibly get! It was no accident that my life was destined to be shared with a Middle Eastern man, and my gorgeous French-Moroccan, Israeli boyfriend was a gift sent to me directly from God himself. He is my connection to this world I love so much, and as I was watching the Henna ceremony take place I sat back and realized that this was going to be my ceremony one day; one day in heart and in name I will be apart of this amazing, special group of Jewish people! Needless to say, my back adorned with Arabic script tattoos fit right in with this crowd, and I felt right at home.
When Stephane and I arrived to the beautifully decorated hall we were early enough to catch some alone time with the beautiful (almost) bride and groom! They looked like they stepped out of an Arabian dream, and Stephane and I were so excited to be able to share in this celebration with such dear friends.
After we said our hellos we mingled with some of the guests, enjoyed the decadent buffets filled with appetizers from pita pizzas to mini American style burgers, to Asian stir fry, spent as much time as we could with Ben and Bar before they were swept away to ready themselves for outfit changes and ceremonies, and then we enjoyed the almost 3 courses of post-buffet pre-dinner food that began to arrive intermixed with lots of AMAZING music, and dancing! The music was the best part of the night. Hours upon hours of nothing but Mizrahi Israeli and Arabic music. There was even some great Persian music thrown into the mix since Ben and his family are from Iran. I was in 7th heaven! The best part was when Stephane would sing along with the Moroccan music he grew up with. I practically swooned. It’s really not even fair how perfect he is for me!
After a bit of food and dancing it was time for costume change number 1, more dancing, and then what seemed like a 15 course meal (typical for these events but I still haven’t gotten used to all the food that comes with any Sephardic celebration!).
Unfortunately the actual ceremony hadn’t begun at this point, and the last bus back to Tel Aviv was almost upon us, so we had to finish the last bits of our dinner and say our goodbyes to Ben and Bar. Well, we got as far as saying goodbye to Ben when we were intercepted by Bar’s mom who wouldn’t hear of us leaving before the ceremony! She went to one of her good friends from Ramat Gan, secured us a ride back home, and then forcefully demanded we get a drink and get back on the dance floor! I know all about strong Moroccan mothers so I certainly wasn’t going to argue :-)!
The time for the ceremony finally arrived bringing with it outfit number 3 for the future intendeds, and a whole lot of crazy nosiness. It was brilliant! Ben and Bar were carried out on thrones like royalty, were adorned with jewelry and gifts while traditional Moroccan music played in the background, the Henna was drawn on their hands, and then, for good luck, all of us guests were adorned with a circular spot of Henna paste on our palms covered with a decorated pad. I couldn’t have asked for more fun!
Music of the Henna ceremony!
It was a perfect night, and knowing that one day I will have a Henna ceremony of my own made me that much more excited for all of the fun things coming up in the future. It was hard at times, however, seeing the families on the stage with the grandparents gathering around Ben and Bar, and knowing that you won’t be there when Stephane and I partake in this glorious tradition. You would have loved it, but as sad as I am knowing you won’t be there, I am equally as happy and entertained at the thought of bubby in the midst of Stephane’s 900+ Moroccan/Tunisian relatives! I think she is really going to have a time when we get married!
Monday is the big wedding day followed by a two day holiday for Shavuot so expect more updates soon! Stephane and I also have another cousin’s wedding to attend in the next week and a half as well so I think it is safe to say that love is officially in the air!
I miss you more and more every day and I love you forever and always!
Until we meet again <3,