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Very Brief Information about arranged marriages in Turkey

First things first , traditions vary from area to area and from region to region, so this means if you see a wedding in one region, it does not mean that it is the same in the rest of Turkey.The following is an example of the general procedure.

A family with a son old enough to get married, will search for a family with a daughter who is also old enough to get married.The average age for boys is 21 or over, who has completed his compulsary national service at the age of 20 which last for 18 months. For girls, the average age is 18 or over.

In some Villages, they place a bottle on the roof, which indicates that in that house lives a girl who is of marrying age. If you see the bottle broken, this can mean one of two things; either there is someone trying to state that he is interested in that girl, or it means that the girl is no longer available. So far as I know, there is only one village who practices this tradition and it is nearby Province Denizli (near Pamukkale).

The boy's family will ask their neighbours, friends and relatives, if they know of a family with a daughter of marrying age. If anyone knows such a family, then they let the family of the bridegroom know.The family of the bridegroom will try to find a person who has a good relationship with the bride's family, so they can send a message to the parents of the bride, that they wish to meet with them.

Once a date is set for the meeting, a small group of close relatives and the bridegroom, with the "matchmaker", who is the person with the good relationship with the bride's family, all pay a visit.Usually all will sit in the presence of the bride's family and close elderly relatives will join them in the living room.

After general greetings and talking about the weather, the bride starts to serve Turkish Coffee and sweets.

In some areas of Turkey, if the bride puts salt into the bridegroom's coffee, this is a sign that she does not like him!

Once the coffee is drunk and the sweets have been eaten, the matchmaker who is usually a respected elder, opens the subject to the purpose of their visit and tells the bride's family that they are willing to take their daughter as a bride for their son. The answer is always "Let us think about it and discuss it amongst ourselves, then we shall let you know". The reason for giving such an answer, is that the bride's family want to find out as much as they can about the bridegroom and his family. Surely, everyone likes to see their child go to a good family.

In the meantime, the mother of the bride, asks the bride if she likes the bridegroom? Does she think he is hansome ? She will never say YES. This would be considered rude!Instead, her answer will be more like "you and dad know better", this indicates that she means yes.

The Bride's familly will ask the opinion of everyone possible who may know the Bridegroom's family. Although the Bridegroom can be good as gold himself, this is not enough. All his close relatives such as his uncles, aunties, brothers and sisters must have a good reference because the genes are important to pass on to the next genaration. A similar search will be conducted by the Bridegroom's family too.

If the outcome of this search is positive, the Bride's family will send a message through the matchmaker saying that they would like to invite the Bridegroom and his family to their home. This is always a good sign, otherwise they would tell the matchmaker to tell them not to bother.

On this visit, the Bride's family agrees to the union and the negotiations start, deciding who will pay for what.The bedroom and kitchen are usually sorted by the Bride's family, while the livingroom and bathroom are usually sorted by the Bridegroom's family.

Also the wedding expenses must be agreed, they can either be shared or paid by the Bridegroom's family, depending on the financial standing of the families.One shall not forget about the Gold! The Bride's family will try its best to get the most possible for their daughter. This will provide security for the Bride because according to the law and the traditions, jewellery belongs to the woman. The man has no right whatsoever to the jewellery.

Once a conclusion has been reached, they will agree on an engagement and wedding date. The phases are as follows :

Promise,Engagement ,Hanna Night ,Wedding day

During the engagement period, which can be anything from 3 to 6 months, the Bride and Bridegroom can go out and spend time together in order to get to know each other. However, they will be accompanied by a close female relative of Bride at all times in order to prevent any close physical contact, because virginity plays an important role in society as no one can guarantee that the couple will get married.Both of them have the right to withdraw their decision if they decide that they are not suitable for each other.

Only on rare occasions in eastern or south-eastern Turkey, would the girl's opinion not be supported , but this is very very rare, almost non existent.

Assuming everything goes well, Hanna evening will take place in the Bride's house, where all the relatives and friends of the Bride's family are invited.During that evening, only females will attend and gather together and have fun, dancing, music and a meal etc.

They will burn hanna on their hands (hanna paste is placed on the hands and covered with a piece of cloth for upto 1 hour), once this paste dries, it will become a reddish colour, a sign for a wedding!!

At the same time, at the Bridegroom's house, all the friends of Bridegroom will gather together to feast, they drink, dine and dance.The next day is the wedding day, where both the Bride and Bridegroom's families and friends gather together, give presents (usually gold or money) and dance etc.

Sounds interesting? wish to find out more ? we should catch up sometime in Sarigerme, i can tell you the rest over a drink :)




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