Customs and traditions
Everywhere in Turkey, images and statues are
reminiscent of the Republic's founder Kemal Atatürk.
Among other things, he is portrayed on the banknotes of
the country. Offending Atatürk is prohibited by law. The
center for the cult of the person around the country
father is his mausoleum Anıtkabir in Ankara.
Some rules of etiquette: It is alleged that you
should not cheat in public, show your soles to someone
or at the same time look at a person and have your arms
Overview of the capital city of Turkey, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
The intercourse between the sexes can be a bit
problematic. For some women who emphasize their Muslim
identity, it is considered inappropriate to shake hands
with men, while other women expect to be treated as in
the rest of Europe. Yet, among educated people in the
big cities, everyone knows that socializing is changing.
It can be more difficult to behave correctly if you end
up in conservative small-town or rural environments, and
it can be valuable to have someone ask for advice.
Tips are not included in restaurant notes - you
usually give five to ten percent. Excursion guides,
hotel cleaners and other service staff also expect tips.
In 2009, smoking bans were imposed on workplaces,
restaurants and bars.
Perfume is popular. Spreading your hands with a
little perfume is regarded as good upbringing and is
also perceived as hygienic due to the high alcohol
content of perfumes. As a result of the coronavirus
pandemic in 2020, perfumes in Turkey have received a
sales boost, such as hand spirit, in the hope that the
alcohol will bite against the virus's cell membrane
(protective cover) consisting of fat.
The 20th century history of the Republic of Turkey is
reflected in the country's secular holidays. January 1
is celebrated as New Year's Day and as the day when the
Gregorian calendar was introduced. April 23 is
Independence Day and Children's Day.
May 1, the traditional day of the labor movement, was
abolished as a holiday after the military coup in 1980.
Following demands from some secular parties, May 1 again
became holiday 2009 in the name of the workers' and
May 19 is called Atatürk Memorial Day. Then Atatürk
landed on the coast of Anatolia and began the rebellion
against the occupying forces after the defeat of the
First World War. At the same time, it is the day of
youth and sports.
August 30 is the day of liberation, when Atatürk
troops after the First World War expelled the occupation
forces from the country. Like May 19, public buildings
with huge Atatürk portraits are adorned this day and
young people are parading by, singing the Youth March.
(The tune is Three thrilling girls. It was introduced by
a Turk who studied in Sweden.)
October 29 is the Republic Day, when the Republic of
Turkey was founded (1923). November 10 (1938) is
Atatürk's day of death. At 9.05 he gave up his breath,
and then on this day sirens sound all over Turkey.
Traffic stops and people get out of their vehicles,
radio and TV broadcasts are silent and everyone unites
for a minute.
Turkey is also a traditional Muslim country, where
nearly nine out of ten claim to participate in the fast
during the month of Ramadan. At the same time, since the
Ottoman period, the Turks have embraced tolerant forms
of Islam, and according to opinion polls, around half
think that you can be a good Muslim even if you
sometimes taste alcohol.
Islam has two major weekends, the ID parties (bay
frame in Turkish; the sugar and the sacrificial
feasts in Swedish). They last for three and four days,
but the first day is most important. Both are official
weekends in Turkey but are moved in accordance with the
Islamic lunar calendar ten or eleven days back for each
year. (The year is shorter by Islamic than by Christian
The sugar party (şeker bayramı or
ramazan bayramı) is a happy party that marks the
end of the fasting month. Goodies belong. The feast or
sacrifice (kurban bayramı) is the larger of the
two ID parties. It is associated with the pilgrimage to
Mecca and is celebrated in memory of how the patriarch
Abraham let go of sacrificing his son to God and instead
slaughtered a baggage. During the sacrificial feast, the
believers should slaughter a male cloven-hoofed animal -
usually a baggage or a goat. After all the blood has
been drained, the meat is divided into three parts - one
for the family, one for the friends and one for the
poor. In the time of Prophet Muhammad, when livestock
was a major industry, this was nothing strange, but for
today's city dwellers, the sacrifice causes some
problems. Livestock herds are led into the cities, often
to empty parking lots where, under the supervision of
the authorities, men buy sacrificial animals and
slaughter them on the spot. Turkish animal lovers object
to the procedure, and critics question whether a sudden
abundance of meat is what the poor need best. The
sacrifice party is also a commercial celebration, as the
shops sell all kinds of accessories for the accompanying
party meals. More and more people now refrain from
carrying out the slaughter themselves and donate money
for charitable purposes.
Although most people in Turkey count as Muslims, not
all Sunnis are. The Alevites (see Religion),
like other Shia Muslims, celebrate the mourning festival
of ashura in memory of the Battle of Karbala in
680, when the Prophet's daughter Hussein was killed.
Ashura is not an official holiday, but in some cities in
the east where Aleppo dominates, business is kept
closed. Politicians from the CHP party, which gathers
many alevit voters, usually appear and speak during the
ashura. In 2009, then-Prime Minister Erdoğan from the
AKP also turned to the Alevites with a speech regretting
the grief over Hussein's death.
Kurdish New Year
A holiday that has received strong political
overtones in Turkey is the Kurdish New Year, newroz.
It is celebrated around the spring equinox in March,
with outdoor fires, food, gifts and festive socializing.
Historically, it is the same spring celebration as the
Persian New Year, nouruz, with ancient
traditions of, among others, Zoroastrianism, and the
same is also celebrated by Kurds in Iran and Iraq. In
Turkey, however, New Year's traditions had begun to fade
before being revived by Kurdish nationalists in the 20th
century, and particular emphasis was placed on myths
which say that the party is celebrated in memory of the
Kurds in the past being freed from a tyrant. Celebrating
Kurdish New Year was banned in Turkey until 2000. After
that, the celebration is allowed, but then applies to be
a general Turkish spring party that is required by law
to be spelled nevruz.
Traditional Turkish family parties such as weddings
and boys' circumcision celebrations are celebrated with
wildly honking cars driving around with the party items.
Muslim boys in Turkey are circumcised between the ages
of six and eleven and are sometimes dressed as little
Even young men who are about to begin their military
service, often far from their hometown, are publicly
celebrated by friends and family. Since the Kurdish
guerrilla PKK began its uprising against the state in
1984, it has not been a matter of course that everyone
returns alive and unharmed from the military service.
The celebration therefore has a serious undertone, but
it is not considered appropriate to openly show its
concern. The military service has elements of manhood
rites, and in many parts of Turkey, a young man cannot
marry until he has "done the trick". However, the
nationalist and militaristic elements in the celebration
of the conscripts have been muted in recent years.
Food and drinks
A trip in Turkey can provide memorable dining
experiences. Turkish cuisine is often regarded as one of
the foremost in the world. In the big cities and the
tourist resorts, it can be easy to get caught up in the
grill restaurants' fast food, but a little more careful
searching - or a visit to a private home - reveals a
great deal of variation.
Turkish food is influenced by traditions throughout
the Old Ottoman Empire from the Middle East to North
Africa and the Balkans, but there are also traces of
Central Asia, such as the frequent use of yogurt.
A meal is often started with a soup (çorba),
often based on red lentils, also preferably with bulgur,
red pepper, vegetables. İşkembe çorbası,
intestinal soup, is usually eaten for breakfast as it is
considered good for hangovers.
Along the coasts there is of course a large selection
of fish and seafood, otherwise you eat a lot of lamb,
beef and chicken. Grilled meat is available in a variety
of forms: döner kebap (rotating kebab) spread
throughout the world, shish kebab (şiş kebap,
small pieces of meat on skewers) and malted meat on
skewers with different spices and whose name shows from
which province the dish comes from. Popular variants are
Urfa kebabı and Adana kebabı. Shaped
to oblong meatballs patties called kofte.
Despite a lot of meat, it is the vegetables that form
the basis of every well-composed meal. The most popular
vegetable is eggplant (eggplant, in Turkish patlıcan),
which can be cooked endlessly in many ways - stuffed,
cooked, fried, as a base in vegetable stir fry, for
salads. Also tomatoes and peppers are often filled with
rice and maybe minced meat as dolma (the same
word as in Swedish cabbage dolm and one of relatively
few Turkish words borrowed into Swedish).
Yogurt is present in an amount context, in soups, as
accessories for the meat and vegetable dishes, as a base
for the ravioli-like right mantı, diluted with
water and low-salt as the popular meal beverage
ayran, garlic, grated cucumbers and dill entree
cacik (like Greek tzatziki).
Turkish desserts are often milk-based and very sweet.
"Turkish confectionery", locum, is made from
starch and sugar and flavored with nuts and / or dates.
Because Turkey is a Muslim country, it can be
difficult to find alcohol for food in simpler
restaurants, especially in rural areas. But here still a
lot of wine is produced, usually of simpler variety, and
beer. Anise brandy rakı (much like Greek
ouzo) is very popular.
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