Monday, December 4, 2006


Forget Glad plug-ins, natural incense is so much better and can freshen a home up instantly. In the middle east incense is very popular, as a child I remember my mom using it on special occassions like the holidays, it was always the indian bakhur sticks that we were used to, they smelled good and I liked watching the fumes burn off making beautiful smokey designs in the air.

Later on after visited new regions and made new friends I've discovered how important this tradition is. It began on my first visit to Dubai, while shopping I took notice of all the special incent stores full of all types of bakhur, oud, oils, mabkharas and so much more. I sought out to learn about the basics from my khaleeji friend, she was kind enough to give me the basics after sending me a lovely box in the mail containing a few different kinds as well as the most beautiful mabkhara (incent burner) I've ever seen.

From my own family backround I never really noticed Bakhur being of such important significance, which led me to wonder if this was only a big deal in parts of the khaleej, egypt, syria and morocco where I've seen them use it on TV in soap operas, movies and music videos.

After my short visit in Dubai I moved to Yemen and there I had met more friends, it appeared to me that the women of the gulf are just "obsessed" with sweet scented stuff, every home I visited was freshened up with bakhur, even while I was there as a guest they brought a large steel bowl full of hot coals and it smoked up the whole living room that we could hardly see each other through the greyish fumes.
They explained to me that in Yemen it is a must for guests to send notice before 'dropping in' so that the house can be prepared.

Well after that I went home to my own apartment and pretty much adopted their tradition, I practiced lighting the little disks of coals watching not to burn my fingers, once it sparked and a firey red glow began to spread through it I dropped it into the little iron bown inside the incent burner. The bakhur I used was an indonesian or malaysian woody incent, I flaked the pieces of wood as my friend instructed me and once I laid the little pieces on top of the burning cole it began to smoke and fumes spread throughout the house.

Another time I was visiting friends I noticed something unsual, this time when they brought the huge iron bowl they asked if anyone wanted to perfume their clothes, I politely declined as I was not familiar with this so instead I sat and watched the other women who volunteered. They began waving their hands towards them drawing the burning bakhur all over their clothes and bodies, then they even undid their hair and waved it around in the huge clouds burning in the middle of the sitting room.
It was really interesting to watch, and since then I pretty much burned bakhur in my home every three days or twice a week and if I recieved word of guests coming over then I immediately lit the coles and began the ritual which is really enjoyable and relaxing!

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