Historians generally agree that the modern hookah first appeared in the seventeenth century. Relics from earlier ages discovered in certain parts of the world, like as Ethiopia, provide evidence that smoking tobacco with an equipment predates the hookah. While the actual origin, whether geographical or chronological, is debatable, the cultural significance of hookah, or shisha, cannot be denied.
The Indian Hookah
Tobacco was introduced to India by the Portuguese. Many Europeans set ship for numerous countries, most notably India, during the Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration, which lasted from the 15th through the 17th centuries. The Portuguese, Dutch, British, Spanish, and French all longed to discover this wonderful land in the east. These expeditions resulted in the discovery of the Americas, Australia, and numerous other civilizations.
When the Portuguese exchanged tobacco grown in Brazil at Indian ports in return for spices, textiles, and other items, the substance quickly became popular. Tobacco was a valuable product back then, therefore smoking it was reserved for the wealthy. India was ruled by the Mughals at the time. Emperor Akbar was in command. Asad Beg, an ambassador, presented him with a pack of tobacco leaves as a gift. Akbar desired to smoke it, but his chief physician was skeptical of its effects. The Persian doctor in charge of Akbar’s health and well-being, Abu’l-Fath Gilani, advised that the leaves be burned and the smoke be filtered through water. The hookah, with its glass base and smoking pipe, took its place.
Tobacco grew more affordable throughout time, and the hookah concept expanded widely. While the rich and noble families enjoyed beautiful hookahs, common Indians constructed their own. These hookahs were less expensive but performed the same purpose. The cultural significance of a hookah was to share a smoking session with family, friends, colleagues, allies, and others. It was both a social and cultural event. Offering hookah was a gesture of goodwill and basic hospitality, as well as a clear statement that someone was welcome.
The Persian Hookah
The Portuguese also traded tobacco in Persia. The Persian royal dynasty, like the Indian Emperor, developed their own kinds of hookah. By the seventeenth century, the Indian hookah had made its way to the Middle East. Hookah developed a cultural phenomena in Persia, and afterwards in Syria, Egypt, and Turkey. If a guest was not offered a hookah, it was nearly regarded an insult or disgrace. It was virtually as common as bringing a guest a glass of water or inviting an ally, friend, or well-wisher to dinner.
Like the Indians, the Persians made hookah a social activity. In the afternoon or evening, at ceremonies or rituals, and during festivities, groups of people would assemble and enjoy a hookah, the same device and tobacco, for a sustained meet and greet or an intricate debate. Royal families would have expensive hookahs with valuable adornments. These would be indicative of their social standing and riches. Middle-class people used regular hookahs, but they enjoyed their sessions just as much. Hookah became a common practice among the Persians, Egyptians, Syrians, and Turks. Disputes would be settled during a hookah session. With the parties smoking a hookah, old animosities would give place to friendship. Strangers would get to know one another while sharing a hookah.
The Modern Hookah
Hookah is no longer associated with monarchy, nobility, or any other social status or indication of riches. Hookah is simply another way to smoke tobacco, usually flavored. There are still premium hookahs with unique decorative components and costly accents. We also provide cutting-edge hookahs with many technologically advanced features. While hookah has evolved multiple times over the previous 500 years, its essential goal remains the same: to unwind, ideally with companions.
There are two main cultural consequences for the modern hookah. One group of people who wish to smoke but do not like cigarettes or cigars are promoting hookah. Many of these people enjoy their favorite flavors whenever and wherever they wish, mostly at home but also on the move with portable hookahs. There are hookah bars, lounges, cafes, and shacks, to name a few. These establishments attract individuals of all ages who come to relax, enjoy a flavored smoke, chat, sing, laugh, and have a good time. Unlike smoking cigarettes, hookah smoking is primarily a social and cultural activity.