What Traditions when Visiting a Turkish Home should you know?. The first is Turkish people love to have visitors and are always welcoming. Since living in Turkey I have attended many tea parties which are held by the ladies in the apartments around me and been to many family meals. Every ones home is different and as with anywhere different people have different expectations.
These next few traditions should help you no matter which home you stay in.
The first is taking your shoes off at the door. It’s important to remove your shoes before entering a Turkish home so you do not drag in the dirt from the outside into the home. In some modern upper class homes you may not be expected to remove your shoes but for most homes this will be the case.
Some bring along shoes for inside the house but you will always be given a pair of slippers or house shoes by your host.
Next is Kolonya – Kolonya is given to visitors to clense their hands and can also be patted on the face and next to refresh yourself after journey. You may also be offered Kolonya on bus journeys and after meal in a restaurant. The main part behind Kolonya is to help prevent germs entering the home.
While the Kolonya is being handed around you may also be offered a boiled sweet or piece of chocolate. It is said this is so that a sweet mouth will start a sweet conversation.
If you are visiting a home for meal be prepared for a large meal. Meals often start with soup and sometimes meze’s and then move on to a main course maybe with dolma, always served with rice or bulgur and a salad. This will then be finished with a sweet either a milk dessert or baklava. Later on tea will be served with either fruit or nuts.
Depending on the home you are visiting and how many people are attending you may be sat at a table or the food may be laid on a cloth or large round table which is close to the floor and everyone sits on the floor.
Also at times depending on the family the men may eat separately to the women this may be on a special occasion and is not always the norm.
It is however normal custom for the women to sit in one room often the kitchen while the men gossip in the living room or main room of the house. The women will prepare and lay the meal and the then clear the away the remains.
The women will then prepare the tea. You will also tend to notice that younger ladies do the majority of the clearing and washing up.
I will talk about washing dishes in another post, as this is an art in itself.
After the tea is prepare normally everyone comes together to chat and gossip.
There are many occasions that families join together for meals and always tends to be a long evening so never be prepared to leave early. Also Turkish housewives don’t take no for an answer, so make sure you have nice comfortable clothes on.
It’s also nice to take a present with you, sweets or some homemade food for your guest.
But most importantly relax and your hosts want you to be at home in their home and don’t worry if you get something wrong they won’t mind.
I hope you like my little Hosgeldiniz (welcome) to the Turkish home and have the opportunity to spend some time with a Turkish family in the future.
Let me know what traditions you have come across while staying in a Turkish Home in the comments below.
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