History and Origin of the Hookah
Hookahs originated in India nearly a millennia ago. Hookah designs were often made from coconut shells, tubes, and heads. The hookah was originally designed to smoke opium, hashish, and tombak which is dark tobacco grown in what is now Iran. Tombak is packed into large old-fashioned head styles where hot coal is applied directly to wet tombak which gives it strong flavor preferences among many smokers.
The hookah first made its way into Turkey about 500 years ago and it became popular among the upper class and intellectuals and gradually changed in design. The hookah grew in size and complexity to become similar to designs we're more familiar with today. Brass or glass replaced the coconut shell and wood and the hookahs were intricately painted and artistically decorated to add to their beauty.
Hookah gained its popularity during the Ottoman Empire, where it was often used by sultans in their portraits. It also became symbolic of wealth and power and important people enjoyed smoking hookahs at diplomatic meetings and royal dinners.
The popularity grew even further and "hookah coffee shops" were introduced within Turkish society where a waiter was treated like a chef because of the high-level preparation required in packing the hookah head and controlling the moisture while smoking. It was considered an insult if the hookah was not prepared properly, and so it was left up to those who had mastered the art of packing and smoking from an early age.
As time went on, hookah began to gain popularity in the Arab world moving to Lebanon and Syria where it got the name “argileh” and continued onto Egypt and Morocco where it was called shisha. Today hookah bars can be found all over the world where people gather to meet and enjoy a shisha smoking session while discussing their favorite topics.
The 21st century gave rise to hookah industries around the world. Industries were made in order to improve the quality of their products, using modern technology. The flavor was their first priority; trying out new flavors and mixing them with traditional ones are a big part of what these industries do for flavor-enhancing purposes. The US is a leader in these industries and saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on the increasing demand for hookah smoking.
Hookah nowadays is a great way to socialize and relax with your friends, family, or guests. One hundred years ago the consumption of hookah was different from what we are used to today. It has come a long way in this time span! Family members, friends, and guests might gather together to smoke hookahs which strengthens their love and bond while enjoying various flavors of tobacco. There are many top tobacco companies that provide varieties in terms of flavor as well as customized hookahs for those that enjoy indulging in flavorful hookahs!
In the United States, as well as around the world, hookah has hardly changed from tradition- it is still revered for good hospitality and respect. The way family members, close friends, and new acquaintances have come together over a hookah for generations remains unchanged. Hookahs are an important part of any community. It can be said that there have been advancements made in hookahs since then but no matter what changes happen internally or externally with its practices; this ancient tradition will always remain deeply rooted within communities spanning different cultures across many countries due to its cultural meaning attached to it by those same people who follow these traditions up to this day.