One of my favourite traditions in Turkey is the Turkish ladies tea gatherings or as I call it tea and gossip. These gatherings are where Turkish Housewives go to do their socialising much like we would go to lunch with our friends.
Turkish Housewives spend most of their day cleaning, cooking and looking after the children and some also have jobs, but after the work is done in the morning they like to gather in the afternoon.
These days used to be called Kısır günü, Day of kısır, due to the food served which was a bulgur salad. Which today you still sometimes get along with other foods like, pasta, borek and other savoury treats and also something sweet like cake or a pudding. It is normal for each lady to take a turn in hosting a gathering and preparing the food.
In our apartment these gatherings happen weekly and sometimes impromptu ones where you get a knock on the door and told there is tea at a certain home. In our apartment this is normally in one ladies apartment she is seen as the Elder of the group, the Abla (Sister).
You may even belong to more than one group and meet various people at different times and points throughout the month. These gatherings are a great time to have a little gossip and a laugh before the men are home and looking for their dinner.
Since moving to Turkey I have been very lucky as the ladies of our apartmenthave included me in their group. It’s a great opportunity for me to socialise and get to know the various people in our community. It has also proven that in times when I have need help they have been there for me and supported me throughout my pregnancy. These groups are more than just a gossip time they also strengthen the ties between neighbours.
In some of the cities like Istanbul you will also come across groups which are called Altın Günü, Gold Days. In these groups each lady gives the host a gold coin or amount of money which is a set amount. This money is for the host to spend or save as she likes, as long as she pays her contribution throughout the year. As you can imagine some of these groups are very hard to get into.
I really enjoy the tea and gossip sessions, they are good relief to the daily day and now my little boy is older its nice to be able to take him and he can play with the other kids and I get a little break for a few hours.
If you ever do get asked to a Ladies gathering please take the opportunity it is something to experience and a great way to integrate into the community.
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