TURKEY - turkish traditions

Category: Education

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Ottoman mehter music, which for centuries accompanied the marching Ottoman army into battle, still echoes in that of drum and zurna which are a part of folk culture all over Turkey. Today the band performs several times a week at the museum, and at certain official ceremonies, and is a reminder of former Ottoman glory. The band has its own distinctive marching step, whose rhythm is that of the words, "Gracious God is good. God is compassionate".

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In former centuries the mehter band used to play even at night on the battlefield to prevent the camp guards from falling asleep.



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Another feature symbolizing the Turkish way of life is the Turkish Baths ("Hamam"). They have a very important place in Turkish daily and historical life as a result of the emphasis placed upon cleanliness by Islam. Since Medieval times public bath houses have been built everywhere and they retain an architectural and historical importance. The Turkish way of bathing in a "hamam" is very healthy and refreshing, so do not forget to visit a "hamam;" you will not regret it!

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For the Turkish bath was much more than just a place to cleanse the skin. It was intimately bound up with everyday life, a place where people of every rank and station, young and old, rich and poor, townsman or villager, could come freely. Women as well as men made use of the "hamam", as the bath is known in Turkish, although of course at separate hours.

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Hamam was a familiar place from the earliest weeks of life right up to its very end. Important occasions during a lifespan were, and in some townships still are, celebrated with rejoicing at the bath. The newborn's fortieth day, the brides bathing complete with food and live music .

KAHVE (Coffee House):

KAHVE (Coffee House)

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Coffee-houses ("kahve") are very specific to Turkish people. Even the smallest village has at least one "kahve." In old times men used to smoke hubble-bubble pipes ("nargile") while talking about the matters of the day. You can still smoke "nargile," but only in some of the coffee-houses. If you ever had a chance to see a "kahve," especially in Istanbul, do not hesitate to spend some time in that lovely, authentic place.

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Hospitality is one of the cornerstones of the Turkish way of life. Following Koranic tenets and naturally friendly instincts, the Turk is a most gracious and generous host. Even the poorest peasant feels hound to honour his guest "misafir" in the best possible manner. Hospitality is taken to such lengths that a foreigner often feels he is suffering from an overdose of it after being plied with food and drinks for hours and being unable to refuse anything, lest he hurt his host's feelings.

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Even in the city, the Turks are prepared to receive guests at all times. They don't expect a call in advance. They don't even have to know you! They will invite you in and offer slippers for your feet. They will serve you tea "çay", or sometimes Turkish coffe "kahve", and offer an assortment of sweet and salty finger foods. They will show interest in you by asking a lot of questions. If you come for a meal, you'll be surprised at how much they keep offering after your palate is satisfied and you are full of rich foods. A meal is typically followed by çay or kahve, then later, fresh fruits and finally, assorted nuts.





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The camel wrestling organised traditionally in our country was firstly made in Hıdırbeyi village, İncirliova, Aydın. Although starting date of camel wrestling is not known, it is predicted that the wrestling organisations have been made since caravan and nomading period. Based on the information obtained from camel owners and wrestling fans, nomads and caravan owners had a competition and they had camel wrestling. Camel wrestling has been seen more in Aydın as well as Aegean region(İzmir, Manisa, Muğla, Denizli) also many cities, districts, towns and villages, also in Marmara region (Balıkesir, Çanakkale), Mediterranean Region (Burdur Isparta) and other some provinces.

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The camels are for wrestling. They are born for wrestling that is their descendants were also wrestler camels. Wrestler camels are grown up with special care and prepared for wrestling. The wrestling is organised during winter months when "Tülü"s are angry, namely in December, January, February and March. One day before the wrestling, the camels taking part in the wrestling are designed in a traditional way. In addition, they are showed up in the streets. This is a worth seeing event. You hear drum and zurna playing zeybek and the bells of the camels. The dressed up camels indicate a different beauty.



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Karagöz & Hacivat is a Turkish shadow play taking its name from its main character Karagöz. Karagoz & Hacivat was the most enjoyed entertainment of the Ottoman period and was widely performed for the public and in private houses between the 17th and 19th centuries especially during Ramadan, and at circumcisions, feast festivals, coffee houses and even in gardens. Karagöz play is played depending on the talent of an artist. Moving the design on curtain, voicing them, dialects or imitations are all made by the artist. The subjects of Karagöz plays are funny elements with double meanings, exaggerations, verbal plays, and imitating accents.

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The main characters of the play are of course Karagoz and Hacivat. Karagoz represents the public morals and common sense, the ordinary man in the street, and is straightforward and reliable. He is almost illiterate; usually unemployed and embarks on money earning projects that never work. He is often kind of rude. You can recognize him by his turban, his bald head and his black beard. His left arm is longer than the other one. His friend Hacivat instead is the opposite of him; he is educated in a Moslem theology school, speaks Ottoman Turkish and uses poetical and literary language. He's very clever as well.



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Turkish cuisine is considered one of the most diverse in the world and combines specialties that make it impossible to resist. The catch here is that Turkish cuisine is rooted in Ottoman tradition which in turn bears the traits of the Greek, Balkan and Arab traditions.

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Thus, Turkish food will not leave any explorer unsatisfied – you will find the nutritive power of meat entries, the gentleness of vegetables and the sweetness of mind-boggling desert, as well as the burning heat of eastern spice combined in the most intricate way.

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Such an unusual diversity and quality of Turkish food is achieved as a result of millennium-long entanglement of different cultures that inhabited the territory of modern Turkey.



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The Kilim is a truly remarkable tradition maintained by women of Anatolia for hundreds of generations, dating back nine thousand years. Turkish mothers and daughters maintained this mysterious tradition for the last thousand years as Turkish tribes settled in Anatolia and intermingled with the local population.

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The oldest record of kilims comes from Catal Hoyuk Neolithic pottery circa 7000 BC, the oldest settlement ever to have been discovered. It is located south east of Konya in the middle of the Anatolian region. The excavations to date (only 3% of the town) not only found carbonized fabric but also fragments of kilims painted on the walls of the houses. The majority of them represent geometric and stylized forms that are similar or identical to other historical to contemporary designs.



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There are different kinds of wedding ceremonies in Turkey. The forms of ceremonies depend on the social and economic status of couples and their families. In the rural areas, they are different from the wedding ceremonies of urban areas. In the villages, the wedding ceremonies continue for two days. There are two separate wedding ceremonies, one in the home of the bride's family and one in the home of the groom's family.

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The ceremonies start Friday evening and finish Sunday noon when the groom's relatives take the bride from the home of the bride's family and bring her to the groom's home. After that, the groom's relatives and the bride's relatives have lunch together, and the bride and groom are left alone in their new home.

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