Thursday, 26 May 2011

Turkish Weddings. The Culture.

Most parts of Turkey still hold fast to their customs and the wedding ones are no exception.  Most marriages are still arranged.  Usually it starts with a boys mother and female members of his family going to the girls family and asking if thier son can start courting and that usually involves a whole thing around the girl serving coffee as I wrote about earlier in Kitchen Rituals.  

If all that goes well the next stage is when the boys family goes to the girls family and formally ask for her hand in marriage.  If an agreement is made they eat some kind of dessert, usually baklava.  After that a date is agreed upon for the offical engagement .  

At the engagement the couple are usually legally married as it is seen as a promise of agreement and if they decide to break the engagement they have to legally get divorced.  Most families at this stage do not consider thier daughters married until after a ceromony has finished. At the engagement rings are also exchanged and jewlery and an outfit is usually given to the bride by her prospective mother in law. Most engagements I have seen like this usually last for a year then they have the wedding ceromony where there is lots of food and dancing then the groom whisks his bride away to join thier family.  

Dancing with the Henna

The wedding itself is held by the brides family and all thier friends and relatives come to say goodbye.  Usually lasting 3 days starting on a Friday night.  The Friday night is for the women of the family and also for the grooms women folk.  On this night henna is placed on the girls hand and she is danced around and songs sung lamenting her leaving.  She is supposed to be sad and some even have to shed a tear or two.  After this henna ceremony there is usually a band with lots of dancing.  This is probably a precursor of the hens night as we know it today. 

Dancing afterward
The following day is full one with lunch and dinner being served with drummers and clarinet players on all day then more dancing at night.  After this everyone is usually exhausted.  On the Sunday morning people come and sit around usually drinking tea and waiting for the groom to come and take the bride away with his family.  This usually happens in convoy. During the Summer is the wedding season in Turkey.  Most weekends you will see long processions of cars filled to overflowing with excited people, drivers honking horns and flags and banners coming out of car windows.  These are the grooms family members coming to take the bride.  Once they get to the brides home there is a bit of dancing then they take her away usually with alot of wailing by the women of her family.

Turkish Weddings are exhausting, exciting, full of everything you could imagaine what more could you ask for.


  1. yes, Turkish Weddings are really exhausting, exciting.
    Thanks for share.
    Wedding Song

  2. My pleasure, about 5 weeks ago I went to another family wedding and that was absolutely exhausting and crazy. It started in a village in
    Adana then the family members boarded 2 small mini vans and treked it to another city 3 hours away to a wedding hall where it was non stop dancing for several hours. I will post about that another time.