Traditions in Turkey

Customs and traditions, from hand kissing in Turkey to adding salt in coffee

Who among you has already wondered what the meaning of hand kissing is in Turkey? Is it because in some cases salt is added to the coffee? Turkey is full of customs and traditions that can seem strange at times. In this article I will tell you about some of them, the best known ones, thanks  to the Turkish TV series that are depopulating In Italy.

Hand kissing in Turkey

Hand kissing in Turkey is a very widespread custom. During the holidays it is used to greet our older relatives . It is a gesture that has no negative connotations, as it could have in Italy. Indeed, it is a profound sign of respect for older people.

It is a practice that is used by men, women and even children, to greet all older people. For example, their parents, in-laws and in any case all older people. It is a gesture that is not limited only to moments of celebration but also during simple visits to relatives or elderly people.

You bow slightly, take the person’s hand and first bring it to the height of your mouth to kiss it and then place it on your forehead. Often the person in front of you will anticipate you by reaching out before you think about bowing.

Curiosity … during the important feast of the Sacrifice, after the children have kissed the hands of their families and grandparents, they receive pennies as a gift. In this case, even the most mischievous children become obedient!

Take off your shoes before entering the house

Taking off your shoes before entering the house is more a lifestyle than a custom! It is observed by all Turks, without distinction.

For us it is unthinkable to enter any house with shoes! It would be interpreted as a real lack of respect and also a lack of hygiene. It is a tradition that I, like every Turkish person, do not compromise on.

Due to my dual culture, and the fact of living in Italy, pushed me to find a conciliatory solution. Those who do not want to take off their shoes can possibly use disposable shoe covers.

In every Turkish home we always provide guests with slippers of all sizes. Usually, at the entrance of each house, there is a cabinet to contain them, while your shoes are almost always outside the home.

Teeth and fear

Among the customs and traditions in Turkey, a very instinctive gesture linked to fear, which not all Turks do, however, is to bring the thumb behind the incisors, almost on the palate, slightly pushing the head back. Usually it is done immediately after you have experienced some sort of fear . When caught off guard or startled, the gesture is accompanied by the phrase “allah korusun” (may God protect).

Often, just the thought of a negative event is enough to make this gesture.

The salt in the coffee during the marriage proposal

The practice of salt in coffee is part of the customs and traditions of Turkey. During the marriage request in Turkey, custom has it that the suitor, accompanied by his family, goes to the future bride`s house to ask her father for her hand in marriage .

This tradition is divided into several phases.  One of them, the coffee must be prepared exclusively by the bride to be (the mother must absolutely remain seated, because there must not be the slightest risk that the future bride will be helped).

The coffee of all the guests will be sweetened, but that of the future groom will be different. In fact, his will be salty instead of sweetened. The suitor will have to drink it without complaining, to demonstrate the patience he will have throughout the marriage.