Do You Speak Hookah?
Do You Speak Hookah?
If you've traveled around the world, you know there are various names for hookah. From hubbly bubbly in South Africa, to the terms lula or lulava used in Albania, Bosnia, or Croatia, they all mean smoking with a water pipe. Whether you smoke a tobacco flavored with fruit, or one flavored with molasses, they all have a wonderful taste and are very aromatic.
Water pipes have existed for many hundreds of years, especially in the Middle East and many parts of Asia. It's only recently that they have become popular in the Western world. So popular, in fact, that hookah bars and lounges are becoming as familiar a site as any coffee shop.
The terminology of speaking hookah can be a bit confusing because same term can mean different things. The Middle Eastern countries refer to the water pipe itself as shisha and moassel is the term for the tobacco. But, in the West, the water pipe is called the hookah and the tobacco is called shisha.
Where the water pipe originated is a subject that's open for debate. One of the theories is that the first water pipe in India was actually a coconut with a hole carved out of the top. This crude design has evolved into water pipes made of many different sizes and designs. Some of the designs can be very elaborate, using precious metals and expensive inlays.
All hookah pipes only need a few essentials in order to work. Just fill the base's chamber part way with water. On top of the base is a bowl, which is where you light the hookah charcoal and place the flavored tobacco. The pipe is what connects the base to the smoking bowl and it should dip in the water. The hookah hose, which is where you inhale, fits onto another pipe tube, but it does not dip into the water.
In the Middle East, hookah smoking is both rooted in culture and tradition, as it is in Israel. But in India, smoking is more a sign of prestige. And in South Africa and North America, it's more of a social pastime.
Each country has their own special etiquette for smoking from water pipes. When you're traveling, be sure you understand their culture before smoking with others. For example, lay down the hookah hose on the table, rather than passing it to the next person. And, if you're in the Middle East, the left hand is deemed to be unclean, so be sure not to use it. And if you smoke a cigarette, do not use the water pipe to light it or to dispose of your ashes.
You can go anywhere in the world nowadays and discover a hookah bar. And since there are so many types of flavored tobacco and shisha to choose from, and well as all the different types of water pipes, you can experience a different smoking pleasure for a long time to come.
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