The Culture of Turkey
By: Brett and Ashleigh

Culture and Etiquette

In Turkey a slight nod down means yes and a slight nod up with a (tsk) sound created by sucking air through your teeth. In Turkey  you never want to point the sole of your foot at someone. Putting your thumb between your first 2 fingers is the equivalent of the middle finger in the US. Turks have very little personal space so they get closer than we're used to. The "OK" sign means homosexual. Never put your hands on your hips when talking to anyone, especially elders. Shake hands with every person you meet upon arrival and departure. Punctuality is a must: if you are invited somewhere and it says 7:00 pm, you arrive at 7:00 pm. Always bring the hostess a modest gift, say, flowers or candies. The "Dutch Treat" does not exist in turkey.

Wedding and Funeral Traditions

Marriage and funerals are very religious occasions. It is expected for people to get married and raise children in Turkey. Traditional weddings last 3 days, while more modern couples may follow European wedding customs. Traditional weddings are more rare because of the high cost. At a traditional wedding, there are 3 days where a different event takes place each day:

First Night: This day is the Kina Gecesi, or henna evening. The bride's hands and fingers are decorated with henna and they dance and sing.

Second Night: Both parents serve lunch and dinner to their wedding guests.

Third Night: The bride is taken to the groom's house by horse after folk dances are performed.

Typical funeral traditions include the washing and shrouding of the corpse and praying at the time of the funeral. They typically take people out of coffins after the funeral service to bury them with their right hand facing the direction of Mecca. After burial they cut signs on tombstones with the person’s identity, sex, and destiny.

Ramazan Bayrami

  • This three day long holiday is a festival where they eat sweets to celebrate the end of Ramadan month. Ramadan is when they fast and can’t eat from sunrise to sunset. It is customary to offer candies to friends and family visiting during this festival. The holiday occurs according to the Islamic calendar, and this year it will be the 17-19 of July. They visit all of their friends and relatives and those who cannot meet them in person call or send cards, and children get new clothes and receive candy from relatives and friends.

Traditional Foods and Meal Customs

The people of Turkey value food and have a strong passion for cuisine. Their food is considered to be the richest in the world. They use mealtimes as a way to socialize with people and meals last a long time. They typically have two major meals during the day. Breakfast is very heavy and so is their evening meal which consists of several courses.

Breakfast typically consists of cheese, butter, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, jam, honey, and a creamy dairy product called kaymak.

Their evening meal is very large and composed of several courses. The main course is usually meat or fish based and served with bread and a salad. Tea or Turkish coffee is served at the end of the meal.

Traditional foods include pilaf (a rice dish cooked in a seasoned broth), Borek (thinly rolled pastry filled with savory fillings or layered and can be fried, baked, cooked on a griddle or boiled), and Kofte (finely minced meat with spices, onions, and other ingredients and can be grilled, fried, boiled, or baked and comes in many varieties).


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