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Turkish Traditions for Children

23rd March 2015

It's no secret that Turkish people adore children, and many Turks love to spoil and pay lots of attention to babies and small children.


There is a holiday on the 23rd April known as; ‘Children’s day’ (Çocuk Bayramı), in celebration of the children of Turkey, and is dedicated to Turkish children. 


Here are a few Turkish customs/traditions for babies/children:-


Naming the Baby


In the rural village areas is it tradition for the grandparents of the child to select a name for the baby. However in the cities, modern urban Turks decide their child’s name, some may choose to keep with tradition by allowing the grandparents to pick the child’s middle name.


New Baby - 40 Day Rule


It is customary in Turkey for a new mother and baby to stay in the home for the first 40 days. This is a tradition upheld by many new mothers throughout Turkey, they will wait for this 40 day period to end before taking the new baby out for the first time.


Evil Eye (Nazar)


It is a Turkish custom to attach a tiny sized evil eye 'Nazar boncuğu' to newborn babies.


Turkish people say ‘Masallah, Masallah’ to babies and young children to praise them and to ward off the evil eye.


Some Turkish people may say that a child is ‘ugly’ (çirkin) when talking about how cute they are. This is because if they say they are beautiful or praise them they could attract negative attention from the evil eye (nazar). 


Babies First Tooth


The ceremony known as 'dis buğdayı' in Turkish is a celebration of the babies first tooth.


In Turkish culture when a baby gains his/her first tooth this is something to celebrate with the whole family. Wheat is an important symbol during the ceremony.


There is a Turkish Proverb 'Ekmek kavgası' which tells of how wheat symbolises human existence and the human battle with life.


The Turkish mother uses Rice (signifying wheat) to sprinkle over the baby’s head.


Another part of the ceremony predicts what the babies career later in life will be. The parents lay out various objects around the child, and the one that the child chooses represents their vocation. For example a ruler symbolises an engineer.  


A traditional wheat dish called Hedikrefers is served to guests.


Circumcision


In Turkey boys are circumcised, it is seen as a step towards becoming a man.


The circumcision is carried out on babies or when the child reaches 8 years old. 


Celebration - The circumcision party involves the son wearing a special suit for a week before, with a sequinned cape, hat and sceptre.


The child is placed in a car with an open top and is paraded around town, followed by a convoy of family and friends, honking horns and accompanied by live traditional Turkish music. (These celebrations are more common during the summer months


The foreskin, which is removed, is buried in the garden; this means that the boy will grow up to be a family man and have a happy life.


Boys or Girls


While children of either sex are highly cherished, generally sons are preferred in Turkey. In the villages they believe a son is more valuable to the family as he will bring growth to the family through marriage, whereby a daughter will grow up, marry and leave the family. 


Turkish saying - If there is a lull in conversation and everyone falls silent, someone may say, “A daughter has been born,” i.e., something has happened to put a damper on the party.


 


 


 


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