Category Archives: Religion

Hidrellez: May Your Wishes Come True

I’ll begin my story on Hidrellez in the manner of a traditional Turkish folk tale. Once there was and once there wasn’t a Turkish Australian friendship between a woman from Istanbul, Turkey and a woman from Sydney, Australia. They met … Continue reading

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Kandil – five holy nights in the Islamic world

Most people are aware of the big events in the Islamic world, such as the fasting month of Ramazan (Ramadan) and Kurban Bayramı (Eid al Fitr), when an animal is sacrificed to Allah. Less well known are the five holy … Continue reading

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The Evil Eye in Turkey – Nazar

From new born babies to wise old grandparents, everyone in Turkey will wear a nazar boncuğu, a blue bead evil eye, at some stage in their lives. Turks believe that ill-wishers can cause harm just by looking malevolently at their … Continue reading

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Ramazan* Dos and Don’ts

The Holy Month of Ramazan has started here in Turkey and over this thirty day period devout Muslims fast during daylight hours. This means not eating, drinking, smoking or even chewing gum, from early in the morning until the evening. … Continue reading

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Dervish Traditions – Turkish Tombs II

Another of the Dervish tombs I love is in a suburb called Merdivenköy, also on the Asian side of Istanbul. Today this is a heavily built up residential area but the suffix köy, meaning village, points to its history. During … Continue reading

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Turkish Death Rituals: An Hour of Your Time

A Turkish friend recently invited me to attend a mevlit to be held for her mother. Her mum had been failing for months, going from being a chirpy chatty woman to a small silent figure swaddled in a now too … Continue reading

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Dervish traditions: Turkish Tombs I

One the quirky features I love about Istanbul are tombs dedicated to dede or senior dervishes that turn up in the most unusual places. A dervish is a member of a Muslim religious order who has taken vows of poverty … Continue reading

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My Turkish Ramazan

“… I was living in Kayseri in central Turkey for my next Turkish Ramazan. It was 2002, and winter once again. The cold made me permanently hungry so food was of paramount importance. Knowing most of my colleagues and students … Continue reading

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Easter in Turkey: Eggs, buns, bunnies or church

My family wasn’t religious, so when I was a little girl in primary school I was always slightly jealous of the other children at Easter. I’d see them emerge from scripture classes clutching Easter bonnets festooned with strips of paper, … Continue reading

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Christmas in Turkey – Deck the Halls & Eat Apple Jam

Living in a foreign country it’s usual to feel homesick sometimes, especially now when the end of the year is just around the corner. For many of us this is a time of celebration, to observe our beliefs and be … Continue reading

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