The Culture and Origin of Hookah

hookah culture history

Hookah also commonly knows as Shisha was once a thing for royal or top ranks. It is believed that Hookah originated in Indian in 16th century.  Also, around the same time the Portuguese introduced tobacco to the Persians in Iran.

During the Ottoman Empire reign, hookah really became popular. The Ottoman sultans loved their hookahs. It became somewhat of a status symbol and important people liked to smoke in diplomatic meetings and royal dinners.

In some of the middle eastern nations, Hookah is part of the family get-togethers, functions and still believed to be part of the culture. In India, it’s mainly used in villages or in trendy clubs but not common as a household item for middle-class families. It’s catching up with the young generation in India as a cool thing to do in clubs or parties.

A hookah or shisha, is a single- or multi-stemmed instrument for heating or vaporizing and then smoking either tobacco, flavoured tobacco. The smoke is passed through a water basin—often glass-based—before inhalation.

There are plenty of shisha flavours available in the market today like apple, watermelon flavours.  Some even claim to have organic 100 per cent nicotine-free herbal flavours that are safe to use but experts do not agree with these claims. Many health organisations even run campaigns against the use of hookah.

But many in middle eastern culture do not believe that it is very risky and say that it’s been part of the culture for centuries. It was not seen as a health risk instead seen as something that was part of cultural gatherings. In the Arab world, people enjoy talks in social gatherings with a hookah. This old Arabic tradition has been used for centuries to smoke away the day’s stress, while relaxing with friends and family.

Even though there are health concerns around using a hookah, its use became increasingly popular in many nations. Shisha is among the most instantly recognizable symbols of popular Arab culture and the ever-growing demand from locals, residents and tourists bears ample testimony to the modern-day appeal of the ancient water pipe.

There are plenty of shisha outlets in the Arab world. It comes with many different names in the market. Egyptians call it shisha; Lebanese refer to it as nargila; and in English, it is hookah. Tourists sometimes refer to it as “hubbly bubbly.”