Turkish Culture and Traditions

Through my travels around Turkey, I am learning about Turkish culture and traditions. The importance of this has been reinforced since my marriage to a traditional Turkish man. - The traditions and customs vary from the East of Turkey to the West so this is a steep learning curve for me.

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My Name is not Yenge : Culturally Stamped on the Forehead

yENGE MEANING

Turks have some quirky mannerisms that are not instantly noticeable to holiday-makers. Certain rituals happen daily and unless you are aware of them or ask questions, these rituals can go unnoticed. One of them is terms of endearment. Turks use them all the time depending on your relationship with them or your social status. Sometimes though, translation can cause confusion For example, two … [Read more...]

Exploring Turkish Landscapes : Evoking Bittersweet Memories of Cultural Differences

Turkish landscapes

A few months ago, Lisa Morrow, an experienced travel writer living in Istanbul, contacted me. She had just released a book about Turkey and asked if she could send a copy, for a published review. I said yes and a week later, received a 162-page book via cargo. Since I am a fast reader, I would easily finish a book of that size within a few days. Three weeks later, Lisa sent a message wondering … [Read more...]

Turkish Carpets and Rugs – The Skill of the Human Hand.

Turkish carpets

Four years ago I developed a love for Turkish carpets and rugs. We are not talking about your mass produced machine carpets or rugs here. Traditional Turkish carpets and rugs are all handmade and just like the Cubans are famous for their cigars, the Turks are famous for their carpets and rugs. Therefore it was no surprise to my friends, that when we were out and about for the day, I dragged them … [Read more...]

Mustafa Sandal : The Turkish Pop Singer

Mustafa Sandal

Wow, I am still buzzing from last night. I went to a Turkish pop concert, and one of the most famous Turkish pop singers was appearing. It was only Mustafa Sandal in the flesh!. Now if you have never heard about Mustafa Sandal, then you definitely would of heard his music, if you have visited Turkey at any time. Who is Mustafa Sandal? Other wise known as "Musti", he is given credit for … [Read more...]

A Ritual Turkish Circumcision Party and Celebration

Turkish Circumcision Party.

I got invited to a Turkish circumcision party yesterday otherwise known as a Sunet party. I kept on having to call it a snip party and make scissors action with my fingers,  until I found out the Turkish word for it. I set off at  around 11am and made my way to the town of Soke which is on The Aegean Coast of Turkey. It only took about an hour and when I pulled up in the car, I was very surprised … [Read more...]

A Turkish Christmas

Turkish Christmas

Christmas in Turkey is impossible right? Most of my friends and family who have never visited Turkey say this. “After all, Turkey is a Muslim country”. It might be a Muslim country but one thing  the Turks have got down to a fine art, is that where there is money to be made, they will make it. Around 2004, Turkey started becoming popular among ex-pats, hence a new business opportunity for all … [Read more...]

Spot The Woman In A Turkish Tea House

Tea house

There is a Turkish tea house in every town, city and village. It is part of all the establishments that go into making up a community. However  it is important not to confuse a Turkish tea house, with a tea garden, but how do you spot the difference? Well, a Turkish tea house has no women in it. It is a male dominated environment that has been around for centuries .  Many years ago, I made the … [Read more...]

Photo Essay – How Turkish Carpets Are Made

Turkish carpets

For a number of years, there has been an underlying fear in the culturally orientated people of Turkey. They fear that the age-old tradition of handmade Turkish carpets is on the decline because of the mass availability of machine made carpets, which are half the price. Carpets weavers associations decided to pool resources, increase contacts and educate people about the process of making Turkish … [Read more...]

Turkish Women : A Mother Called Hatica

women of Turkey

I love watching people and wondering about their life. Where are they coming from and where are they going to? What pain have they experienced and what happiness have they known?  I am also always reminded of a Turkish woman I met called  Hatica. Her life could not be any more different than mine. I am tied to the internet and all that revolves around it while she is a home-maker, mother and … [Read more...]

Turkish Culture – A Guide to Social Traditions

Turkish-culture-traditions

One thing you will soon realize when visiting Turkey is part of the Turkish culture involves being very sociable. Turkish people love to meet new friends and think nothing of spending half the day talking to a complete stranger while putting the world to rights. People who come  from countries that are reserved may be in awe of the friendly nature shown to everyone. With this in mind, I have put … [Read more...]

The Circus Comes To Town

circus animals

When I heard that The Traveling Avrasya Circus had come to town, I wanted to go for three reasons. The first was to practice my photography skills, the second was to blog about it and the third reason was to relive childhood memories. I soon learnt that practising your photography skills at the circus is a big mistake unless you are a professional and you actually know what you are doing. (Hence … [Read more...]

The Sufi Mystic Experience and Rumi

Sufi

The amazing Sufi poet called Rumi once said that “Love cannot be described. It must be tasted”. He said these words over 700 years ago, yet people still spend time and energy searching for the perfect definition of love. Better questions to ask would be… Do you believe that simple sentences or actions can evoke overwhelming emotions? Do you believe that a greater understanding of other cultures … [Read more...]

The Bindalli Dress from Beypazari

Bindalli dress

The Beypazari region of Ankara is culturally rich.  From local foods to jewellery to weaving and handicrafts, I learned a lot about the people that live there. One tradition I also learned about was the Bindalli dress What is a Bindalli dress? It is an intricate garment that is a symbol of the relationship between mother and daughter.  Handed down through generations, it is a long velvet … [Read more...]

No Men Allowed : Ladies Day at the Local Turkish Bath

Turkish woman and child going to the hamam

The Turkish Bath museum of Beypazari is a small two-story basement building, located on a side street in the main town. Its aim is to highlight the ancient tradition and remember past citizens who spent their time cleansing and washing in the old hamam. Rather than just a visit to a museum, it was for me instead, a big realization of how much my life has changed since I arrived in Turkey … [Read more...]

Patriotic Turks, Their Flag, and the EU

Shopping centre

I was once asked to describe Turkish people and I had no hesitation in my answer; Turks are patriotic. The most obvious sign of their patriotism is the display of the Turkish flag, a red background with a white moon and star. Teenage boys about to depart for compulsory military service will often, drape the flag over a car before riding around town, beeping the car horn loudly. They are proud to … [Read more...]

Sacrificing a Goat in Turkey for Kurban Bayram

Kurban Bayram

This week had led to a flurry of activity in markets all over Turkey. Cattle farmers are busy as communities gear themselves up for a four day festival that will start on Sunday called Kurban Bayram. The cattle farmers will experience their busiest week of the year as all over the country, goats, sheep and cows are sold in order to be sacrificed according to Islamic rules and traditions. Kurban … [Read more...]

Ramadan – An Outsiders Experience of the Islamic Month of Fasting

Ramadan

Ramadan is a religious period of time that tests the strength, determination and goodwill of Muslim men and women all over the land. Mortal souls that follow the religion of Islam  put themselves through the ultimate endurance test by abstaining from food, drink and intimate contact during the hours of daylight. The rays of the hot sun beat down on their tired bodies making their brows drip … [Read more...]

My Short-lived Membership of the Turkish Housewives Club

Turkish Housewives

When I married my Turkish Romeo, I never knew that I had gained automatic entry to the Elite Club of Turkish Housewives.  This is a group of women who have the task of multi-skilling borne into them from birth. No problem is unsolvable and no task is too big. The pure existence and happiness of their families is all down to the Elite Turkish housewives who steer the ship through troubled times and … [Read more...]

Camel Wrestling in Turkey : A Traditional Festival

Camel

I have seen many sights during my time in Turkey but none of them has ever matched the experience I had last Sunday. Seven of us hired a driver and set off to the village of Kizilcayiki to watch the traditional show of camel wrestling. From the moment, we got out of the van I realized that we were the only foreigners in a crowd of possibly 1000 Turkish village people. My first instinct was to … [Read more...]

Body Language – Communication For Your Travels.

Turkish body language

I believe that speaking the language of a country you are traveling to,  is not that important. Nine times out of ten, you can normally find someone who speaks English. If you can not, then a guide book, drawings and a game of Charades will normally get the point across. We also manage to learn a couple of words along the way but, unless you intend on staying in the country for ever, then is … [Read more...]

A Turkish Hamam Experience

Turkish hamam

The Turkish Hamam is also known as the Turkish bath, and while it is not one of my favorite past times, I need to write about it,  because no holiday in Turkey is complete without a trip to the local Turkish hamam. Now, a lot of 5 star hotels in Turkey have the Turkish hamam included in the spa section of their hotel. From experience, this is not a traditional version because it is geared up for … [Read more...]

Ramadan In Turkey

Ramadan In Turkey

Ramadan in Turkey can be daunting to any traveler or tourist who has not been to Turkey during this holy month. They may be apprehensive about how it will affect their plans. Otherwise known as the Muslim fasting month, Ramadan involves abstaining from all food and drink during the hours of daylight. You may also hear it referred to as Ramazan and how it will affect your traveling plans will … [Read more...]