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Marriage And Wedding Traditions In Turkey

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Author: Mehmet Birbiri

Turkish weddings differ from one region to another, in urban and rural areas. In modern Turkish society, the official marriage arrangement signing ceremony is followed by a large celebration at a wedding hall where relatives, friends, and acquaintances come together to dance, drink, eat, and shower the new couple with gifts and good wishes.

Most marriages today happen upon the agreement of the young couples, but some marriages are still arranged by families. Even if the young couple agrees to marry, they and their families follow the traditions which have been very popular for ages. If it is going to be a totally family-arranged marriage, the family of the young man, mainly his mother and other female relatives, start to search around for a suitable bride. the word spreads around and friends, relatives, and neighbors might show some candidates. The candidate could be someone they saw in a market, gathering, or ceremony. If they don't know who she is, the family checks out her family and where she lives. Then a message is sent to her family stating that they would like to visit them to see the young girl. Traditionally, the girl's family does not refuse that message.

On a set day the young man and some of his close relatives visit the girl's house. Again, traditionally the girl is dressed up and serves Turkish cofee to the guests. While drinking coffee, the guests have a closer look at the girl and her family. After drinking coffee, the guests thank their hosts for the hospitality and leave without any comment. After leaving they discuss the girl and her family.

If the family approves and once the son declares his intention to marry the girl, representatives of the groom (usually female relatives escorted by a respected older woman) visit the girl's family. As the prospective bride serves the visitors, the groom's representatives explain their proposition. Normally, the bride's family asks the girl's consent and answers the other party within a week. The girl's family checks out the young man and his family as well. After receiving a positive answer, the groom's parents visit the bride's side with several elderly and respected members of the family.

Meanwhile they discuss the specific household gifts each family will give the couple. The approximate date of the wedding is also set during those talks. At the end of the discussion, the respective families have dessert. Dessert, mainly baklava, is delivered to the neighbors and friends as an announcement of the agreement. Eating sweet things after the agreement represents the wish that everything goes sweetly in the marriage. Shortly afterward, an engagement ceremony is held for the groom to place an engagement ring on the bride's finger. It's customary at this time to give the bride some gifts, such as gold bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry.

Before the wedding ceremony, the household goods of the couple are carried to the new house. When this happens, you might see some trucks carrying furniture and people clapping, dancing, and beating drums.

The eve before the wedding is called henna night. The girl's friends gather at her house, play music, dance, and sing. They also tint the bride's finger or hand with henna. it's customary to sing sad and separation songs by the end of the night. Another tradition is the bride's crying. It signifies the sorrow of the bride at separating with her family. Meanwhile the groom's friends gather at the groom's house and have a kind of bachelor party. They eat, drink, sing, and dance. One of the groom's close friends or relatives confidentially teaches the inexperienced groom the gentle ways and manners he should show his wife on their wedding night, which, if properly exercised, will ultimately win her heart forever. The groom's confidante will sometimes buy this right to provide such advice through an auction in the groom's honor.

While most wedding ceremonies last one day, some regions may celebrate weddings three to seven days, depending on the wealth of the family.

On the wedding day, the eldest brother of the bride ties a red ribbon around her wast which signifies her virginity. In Turkey, as in many other cultures, it's considered a matter of honor and pride for the bride's family. During the ceremony the couple signs the marriage registration book in front of the mayor or an official acting on behalf of the mayor. As soon as the book is signed, the bride and groom race each other to step upon the top of his or her spouses shoe, which brings immediate cheers from each side of the family. The winner of the race is believed to be the person who will dominate the family from that moment on.

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Thank you rozzici for posting that interesting article about the traditional Turkish marriage. :lol:

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  • 2 years later...

hello, Formerly in Turkey marriage within relatives was common. Today such kind of marriages have not been practised so much due to impact of urbanisation.

Another kind of marriage is that in case of death of a brother, marriage of a single or widower brother in law with widow sister-in law. (Levirat) In preference of such kind of marriage the purpose is not to allow properties go out after death of brother as well as situation of children. Similarly it is also possible when sister dies sister-in law takes the place of her sister (Sororat).

Another type of marriage is

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