by Uğur Doğu and Katy Kappele
Uğur Doğu is an exchange student at Whatcom Community college. He is studying tourism and hospitality on a scholarship from Whatcom. Doğu has been studying English in Turkey for about two years, and has been in Washington for three months. He has also written stories for a newspaper in Turkey.
Merhaba! Hello! Nasilsin? How are you?
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is the founder of the modern Turkish Republic and the first president of the Republic. He was born in Salonika, in 1881. He made many reforms. He said that “Culture is the foundation of the Turkish Republic.” Turkey is in both Asia and Europe, and the language is Turkish. The people of Turkey are Muslims, but you can also find the other religions’ places of worship.
Family is very important in Turkey. Family members are very respectful of each other.
Food in Turkey is delicious. The main meals are breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but people sometimes eat something before they sleep, especially in the long winter nights. People eat cheese, olives, bread, eggs, and jam for breakfast. The main beverage is tea for breakfast.
Dinner is a very important meal in Turkey because family members sit around a table together. It’s the richest and most carefully prepared meal of the day, rich with sauces, much oil, and spices. Meat is very important and is prepared with onions and vegetables.
Clothes and fashions change from region to region. For example, in Anatolia, people wear traditional clothes, such as a women’s garment called bindalli. “Bindalli’’ is the most popular clothing in the world. People wear this clothing at “Henna Nights”. A Henna night is arranged two or three days before the wedding. Turkish weddings are very different from the other cultures’ weddings. If you are invited to a wedding, you will enjoy it very much.
According to Turkish people, guests are very sacred. Wherever you go, you will be offered a glass of tea or Turkish coffee. Turkish hospitality is always very important, and extends to tourists. As a result, travel in Turkey is inexpensive — people like eating dinner with guests.
Dancing and music are very energetic in Turkey. People dance and listen to music all the time. They always dance at weddings. Music and dance vary from region to region.
Turkey has many historical places and very famous cities, so if you are a tourist, you have to see Istanbul, Izmir, and Antalya. These cities are very famous and very beautiful. In the summer, the weather is very hot, but you can go swimming.
The economy is not wonderful, so people have to work very hard. Because of the hard work, Sundays are very important for family members. They can go for a picnic at a beach on Sundays.
There are two major religious festivals in Turkey. First, the “Sugar Festival” before Ramadan continues for three days. Lots of shops sell candy and chocolate. People visit their relatives and neighbors. Old people give some money to children, and children visit them and kiss their hands. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslims all over the world abstain from food and drink. In Ramadan Muslims read the Qu’ran frequently. They get closer with family and friends and stay away from bad habits.
The other festival is the Feast of the Holy Sacrifice. Traditionally, a sheep or lamb is bought and sacrificed on the day the festivities culminate. At this time, buses, trains, and airplanes are crowded with people going to visit their relatives.
Turkey has three national festivals. They are the Republic Festival, the Victory Festival, and Children’s Day. Children’s Day, where children gather in Turkey from around the world, is a symbol that children are the future of the new nation. Turkey is the only country to have a festival celebrating the world’s children, where children share traditional dances and music, so the children wear special costumes and dance in the city squares.
St. Nicolas, who became popular as Santa Claus, was born in what is now Turkey.
It is difficult to summarize an entire culture, but hopefully you enjoyed this look at Turkey. Until next time, güle güle! Goodbye!
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