The culture and traditions of Turkey are by far one of the things that will surprise you the most as soon as you visit the country. Turkey is a mix of traditions from different countries (Turkish, Greek, Georgian and more Arabic and European countries) and that´s why they are so rich in culture and a very unique country.
The 8 most interesting customs in Turkey
We know there are like a million facts about Turkish culture but talking about all of them it´s almost impossible, that´s why we have selected the top 8 most famous traditions in Turkey.
1) Avoid bad energy with an evil eye souvenir
One of the most popular Turkish traditions is related to the evil eye, or also known as “The Nazar Boncugu”. Once you get to Turkey, you will start seeing a bunch of these blue eyes made of glass, they are everywhere!
The Nazar is placed in the doors of a house, at the car and in many other places, and the main reason why they have it everywhere is to avoid the negative energy and to have better luck.
Although nowadays the evil eye is still part of the traditional Turkish culture, it has also become the most famous souvenir in the whole country. Most of the people buy at least one when they visit the country.
2) Turkish use tea to show hospitality
There is no doubt that the Turkish tea is one of the most famous things about Turkey. Its red colour and its delicious taste are of course some of the reasons why the Turkish tea has become so popular, but the actual reason why Turkish drink so much tea is related to hospitality and the social customs of Turkey.
Offering a tea to your client when he/she comes visit you is part of the Turkish work culture. The client will appreciate it and it’s a way to show respect and interest on a possible project together. Turkish tea is also served between neighbours, friends and family as a way to welcome someone or just to show them hospitality.
The Turkish tea has become very popular for tourists because of its dark red color and also because it´s always served in tulip-shaped glasses. People normally accompanied the tea with sweets like the Turkish delights.
3) Children represent the family strength
That´s right, having kids means spreading and increasing the family, which symbolizes that a family have a bigger strength. It may sound like one of those strange traditions in Turkey, but it actually happened a lot in many other countries in the past.
Imagine how important are babies when they are born, that family and friends normally give them devil eyes to protect them from any kind of danger.
Another thing Turkish people do (generally in small villages where they maintain their traditions) is to keep the mothers at the house, so she can be healthier, and the new-borns have a better beginning of their lives.
4) Ask for the hand at the marriage (Görücülük)
It could sound a little bit too old in many other cultures, and although the couple are the ones who decide if they want to get married or not, once the decision is taken, the parents get involved in the relationship.
There are many marriage customs in Turkey, but probably asking the hand is the most important one. The son and its family would normally visit the home of the future wife to analyse her, and if everything goes well, they will go ahead and ask for her hand.
On these occasions, the soon-to-be groom brings flowers, chocolate, desserts and the engagement rings, while she normally prepares the coffee for the whole family.
5) Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
While in the majority of the countries lunch or dinner are the most important meal, in Turkey is the breakfast. There are many food customs in Turkey that are related to breakfast, but we can already tell you that a Turkish breakfast would never be done with a fruit or some cereals.
Turkish people believe eating a heavy breakfast is healthier than eating a heavy lunch or dinner, and that´s why they have plenty of food on the table. Some of the foods you may be able to see on a typical Turkish breakfast are bread, cheese, eggs, butter, honey, olives and even a whole salad.
Another important fact about the Turkish breakfast culture is that family and friends get together on weekends (generally Sundays) and have a huge breakfast with even more food than the normal days. It´s a way to socialize with their close ones and have a relaxing time during the weekend.
6) Don´t be surprised by their loud car honking
In case you didn´t know it yet, one thing you need to know about Turkish people is that they have a very strong temperament and they always let their emotions guide them. This means they are not very patient when they are driving and if there is a lot of traffic, there will also be a lot of honking and crazy noises.
But in this case, the loud car honking is not only related to the traffic. Turkish people use it a lot as a way to celebrate special events.
Whenever you hear many car horns, don´t worry because it´s probably that there is a wedding around or any other important event.
7) Turkish Hamam
This time we are not only talking about the traditions and customs in Turkey, but also traditions that took place during the Roman and Byzantine empire. The Turkish Hamam is referred to a public bath and it was originally made to fulfil the emphasis on the cleanliness by Islam.
Public bath houses have been used since medieval times, they were built at every single city and they have an incredible importance on the history.
A Turkish Hamam will help you understand perfectly the culture of Turkey, as it´s not only a place to get clean, but also to be more relaxed, rest your body and muscles and the most important, the Hamam is a place were people talk to each other and feel more confident with the rest of the people.
When you are talking about the Turkish culture and traditions, you can´t forget about the circumcision, as it´s one of the most important ones. Circumcision is a religious practice and in Turkish is known as Sünnet.
The circumcision is one of the most significant moments on the life of a Turkish boy, as it´s when the boy becomes a man, or at least that´s what it´s said on the Turkish culture. The day when the circumcision occurs is celebrated with a party and the kid wears a flashy outfit to distinguish himself.
Although it is mandatory on many places of the country, fortunately, the way it´s done has been improving in the last years and now most of the people go to a hospital instead of doing it in the traditional way.
Other things to know about Turkish culture
The ones we just told are 8 of the most interesting facts about the culture in Turkey, but what we are about to tell you are some of the things you really need to keep in mind to not mess it up once you visit the country:
Always take off your shoes
A very important cultural tradition in Turkey is to take off your shoes before going inside someone else´s house. Always take them out and put them in front of the door, they will give you some slippers to wear at the house.
Turkish people believe that shoes are dirty, and they are not supposed to pray at dirty places, that´s why is so important that to take off your shoes before going to most of the inside place (houses or mosques).
Don´t leave early
Another of the interesting traditions in Turkey is that you are not allowed to leave early at a party or when you are invited to someone else´s house.
Of course, is not like you are not allowed, but Turkish people believe that you are not having a good time or that you didn´t like the way they treated you if you decide to leave the house before midnight.
The locals of Turkey are very friendly, and they love to stay until late at night hanging out with family or friends while they drink some Raki or other alcoholic drink.
Respect older people
No matter how old they are, it´s a tradition in Turkey to respect the people who is older than you. For example, if you are entering a room, you should always let them pass before you do, or if you are in a public transport, let them have the seat.
Respecting them is a way to show that when you get older you have more experience and you can always teach lessons to the ones that are younger than you. If you are talking to someone who is older than you, then you would need to add “abi” (for man) and “abla” (for woman) after their names.
Hope you enjoyed reading about the culture and traditions of Turkey
That´s all you need to know about the traditions and culture in Turkey, as you can see, they have a very unique lifestyle and many social customs to follow.
Now, you are more than ready to make a trip to Turkey! Hope you enjoyed reading all about the Turkish culture, and if you have any other question or suggestion, please let us know!