Turkish Cultural Habits

The world is rich in habits and culture. You can fell it when you visit another country and you get shocked with something that is not "normal" for you. We will talk here about some Turkish cultural habits:

  • Turks have the habit of removing their shoes before entering home. Do not be embaraced if you visit a Turkish family and see in the entrance of the house or even outside the main door a lot of shoes ! The reason is good and simple: cleanliness ! When you walk in the streets, shoes will be in contact with a lot of dirt and the Turks don't want to bring it home.
  • the marriage in a notary lasts about 5 to 10 minutes. The bride usually wear bride western clothes and everybody will clap their hands after the YES!

  • after the couple marries, the bride will receive a lot of gold gifts and money!! Good isn't it ? Relatives and friends hang in the bride gold coins with a red bow, gold necklaces, gold bracelets, money shines, etc... If there is a party the bride will wear the gifts. The bride also carries a small bag, where she keeps some of the gold gifts if they are so many. Depending on the wealth of the family and friends, the gifts pays the party and more ...

  • official marriage in Turkey is done at the notary and the religious one with a religious party. Turkey is a secular country, a man can marry only a woman in the notary, but a man can marry at most 4 women in the Islamic religion. The percentage of poligamic men is very small in Turkey and usually the population do not approve such marriages.
Click here to read more about Turkish Marriage
  • when a child is born or is circumcisized, relatives and friends give them a gold coin with a red bow.

  • in villages there is usually a coffee bar. In this coffee bar you will see only men drinking tea or coffee, smoking and talking. The women's permanence in such places is not prohibited. They also meet at their own houses to have tea and talk gossips!

  • a typical Turk drinks approximately around 10 glasses of black tea pro day. Tea is the most popular drink in Turkey.

  • if you are in Turkey on November 10th at 9:05 you will see something very interesting. Almost all the population make one minute of silence. It is interesting to see a metropole like Istanbul, in a crowd place where millions of people, cars and buses stop for one minute. It is like to stop a film. This minute of silence is in memory of the death of the founder of the Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Some museum clocks are also stopped at 9:05, this is also in honor of Ataturk.
  • Turks are very superstitious !!

  • when a child is born, relatives and friends give her/him an evil eye. Usually the family hangs in the child an object that the Turks calls "nazar boncuk" (see picture at this page) which is a blue evil eye. The evil eye can be made of gold depending on the wealth of the family.

  • the "nazar boncuk" can also be put in the entrance of the house (the person already enters and sees that the house is protected), outside of the house, in the office, in the car, it can also be used as a jewelery. The "nazar boncuk" in its original form is a blue eye but it can also be represented in a bracelet or in an earring with a blue stone.
  • Turkish men greet by kissing each other in their faces. This is a normal thing to see in Turkey. Man kisses man, woman kisses woman and woman kisses man in both cheeks. Religious women don't kiss men.

  • there is a ritual when a younger person greets an eldery person of the same family or a closed friend. The eldery person gives his/her hand and the youngest person kisses the hand and take the hand towards his/her forehead. This is a sign of respect.

  • Turkish families love to offer something to their guests. It can be lunch, dinner or a tea. If you have an invitation to visit a Turkish family, go with an empty stomach! Usually the woman of the family cook delicious dishes during the whole day and offer a banquet. Taste a little bit of everything because if you reject something they will be desapointed.

As Turkey is rich with cultural habits, we will give continuation to that subject in another opportunity!

July 23rd, 2002
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