Wedding Traditions in Turkey: Beauty at all Stages
One of the most famous things about wedding traditions in Turkey must be those stages before the big day. They are not real Turkish weddings and traditions if these stages don’t come true. Each of them is so unique, ancient and fun. So, what are they?
Asking for the Bride-To-Be’s Family’s Approval
On the road that goes to marriage, the first step is asking for family’s approval and it must be taken by groom-to-be and his family since it’s a very important Turkish wedding tradition. Although this step was quite intimidating back in the old days, nowadays the only thing that usually scares the groom candidates is a salty Turkish coffee. In the not-so-far past, the girl’s father could easily use this sentence and kill all the possibilities about that marriage: “I’m not giving my daughter to you!”. But at the present time, asking for bride’s family’s approval is nothing more than a way of showing respect to Turkish traditions and customs. Obviously, daughters are not givable objects.
About that salty coffee… For this approval stage, mother and father of the groom (and some elder family members) go to the bride’s family’s house. The bride candidate has to serve Turkish coffee to the guests to show her grace but she also serves salty coffee to her beloved. If he drinks the coffee without any bad expression on his face, his love is true!
Wedding Traditions: the Engagement Ceremony in Turkey
Now that groom candidate got the approval from his girlfriend’s family, they can get engaged along with a ceremony. This ceremony can be a big event or exclusive to close family members. No matter what, there have to be engagement rings tied to each other with a red ribbon to have an engagement ceremony that is suitable for Turkish wedding traditions.
Before the engagement ceremony, women of the two families meet up and go to wedding shopping. It is one of the most fun traditions among women but it can also be stressful especially for bride candidates. Because they have to find a way to please their mother and mother-in-law while shopping. This shopping is made for the groom’s and bride’s needs, women family members prepare a fancy basket which is full of gifts including wedding night underwear. Of course, they also buy a fancy pair of scissors during that shopping. So that at the engagement ceremony, an elder family member can use that scissors to cut the red ribbon which ties the rings on the fingers of the soon-to-be-married couple. The moment that ribbon is cut, they are engaged — according to Turkish marriage traditions.
The wedding day is almost here, it is just one day after the henna night. Now it is time for ladies to have this special henna ceremony and share emotional moments. At this stage, women (family and friends) gather up and put henna in their palms. But first, they have to sing a song and turn around the bride while holding candles. In the meantime, the bride must be sitting while her hands are hennaed. This ritual is to express the bride’s mother’s sadness — because her daughter is going away. They also believe that henna will protect the bride from bad things. During this song, it is very likely that the bride and her mother would cry. It is also very likely to dance cheerfully after getting hennaed in an emotional way.
There are two kinds of marriage in Turkey: religious and formal. In order to get really married, formal marriage is mandatory. But also almost every couple happens to have this religious wedding ceremony just before the formal one out of respect. This ceremony is run by an imam and commonly known as a “light marriage ceremony”.
The Wedding Day
According to Turkish wedding ceremony traditions, the groom has to go to the bride’s family’s house and take the bride to the wedding from there. Of course, there have to be the drum and zurna (a traditional Turkish instrument) while doing this. While the groom is on his way to take his bride from her house with cheer and joy, emotional moments happen in the bride’s house. The bride’s eldest brother (or some other male family member if she doesn’t have a brother) ties a large red ribbon around her waist. This ribbon can be named a maidenhood belt because it represents the bride’s virginity. It represents that on that day the bride will not be a virgin anymore and she will become a woman. That is why this ritual is considered emotional among the bride’s family members.
It’s time to go to the wedding halls and celebrating their marriage with traditional — and modern — dances right after they say yes! Some brides don’t forget to smash their fiancé’s foot when he says yes so he can see who has the power in that marriage.
Bonus: Nuptial Night
It is also a known tradition that the groom’s male friends accompany him to their chamber after the wedding celebration. They hit his back strongly while doing this so he can be fully aware and ready.