there are certain things in life which we love, certain sounds, certain images, and certain smells.
i love the smell of bukhoor and washag (incense) or as my Somali friends call it 'onsi', i love coming into my house and being hit by the smell of bukhoor. it makes it so homely and gives it such a clean feel.
its always the last thing we do after cleaning the house, and the first thing we do just before guests come.
being brought up with this ritual has made me in touch with my roots back home as well as my Arab roots full stop.
my mum taught me the importance of having a nice smelling house and i will pass this knowledge on to my kids inshallah, and they will pass it on to theirs and so on and so forth...
washag is Libyan, we always get a little bag of this magic from Libya, and its place is in the kitchen, because right after washing the dishes and cleaning the cooker, out comes the washag.
as you can see in this picture, each Libyan household has a little metal thing ontop of the cooker to put the washag in, our handle is broken but still comes in very handy, my mum would be very embarrassed if she new i had put a picture up of her broken washag thing but i think it's unique and has become a fond member of our family, where would we be with out youuuuuuuuuuuuu.
Bukhoor is the name of the fragrance smoke created by the burning chips of Agarwood or pieces of mix fragrance ingredients bind by sugar-syrup, when burnt slowly, produces a more concentrated smell. These chips are burnt in Bukhur burners to perfume the surrounding and clothing specifically on occasions in all seasons
i remember when the only bukhoor we had was the stick incense and 9 out of 10 times they stank or had such a powerful odour, and they came in different colours bu the main colour was the dark red, as a child i used lightening them up and pretending to smoke them, pathetic i know... now they come in different smells and sizes, you can even get fruit smells liek coconut!!!
Bukhur alters the moods to bring peaceful, tranquil, refreshing, uplifting & inspiring feelings apparently, and that's why you always hear Libyan old woman saying its good for the soul and will always say 'bakhreeeeeeeeeee'.
my mother collects bukhoor, she has a treasure chest of the stuff as you can see from this picture, if you want to make her happy you give her bukhoor as a gift.
the thing the chest is resting on is a bikhoor stand and so is the red and gold item, she has them plastered around the house.
i just love the smell and its such a relaxing meditating ritual, the whole burning of the coal, then placing the coal into the mabkharah (holder) and then putting bukhoor on top and blowing onto it and watching the perfumed smoke spread and walking from room to room with the mabkharah and then eventually placing it somewhere as it dies down.
the amount of times i have burnt my fingers as well as clothes messing about with the coal is countless, i still do burn my fingers, you would think i would Be immune by now to any burning.
my parents come back today so i obviously had to the round of cleaning and what not, so out came the bukhoor, I'm at work at the moment and i swear typing this up i can smell bukhoor, we humans are so funny you can say a certain word and your mind will make you believe you can smell it lol.
in some cultures, when guests come over, one way of telling them its time to go is to bring out the bukhoor, its a nice way of saying 'home time'.