Kurdistani Jewish Henna Traditions 
for the Death of a Young Woman in the 19th century
copyright Catherine Cartwright-Jones c 2003
Kent State University
In Amidiya, Kurdistan, when a unmarried young woman died , women hennaed and dressed her body as if preparing her for her wedding.  This would let her enter the afterlife joyous and beautiful, as on her wedding day. They sang her wedding songs, Dim hamlula and Narike.  In the 19th century, the girl was elaborately adorned with wedding henna, but in the early 20th century, the women only hennaed her little finger. 

Her parents hung up her jewelry and clothing by the bed where she once slept. 

In Sinne, women prepared henna for the dead girl, but did not henna her body.  They ululated, klililililili, as if for a bride, amid rounds of weeping. 

Young women  were not buried in their wedding finery, as  grave robbers might plunder their graves and steal their wedding jewelry.

The Jews of Kurdistan
Erich  Brauer, completed and edited by Raphael Patai
Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1993

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