Monday, 11 March 2013

My Birthday Treat - A Guest Post.


As it's my birthday today, I'm taking a break and giving you a post by my good friend of many years, Angie Mitchell - Author of "Secrets of a Turkish Kitchen."  Angie and I have a lot in common. We both started our careers in Turkey on yachts, we both cook for our living, have Turkish husbands, have a birthday within 24 hours of each other and now Angie is building a house on the Karaova plain,  we are both bona fideTurkish Villagers and entitled to wear flowery baggy şalvars, and own a donkey.  


Village Wedding


The village wedding has changed over the past 20-something years. The first one I attended had the bride-to-be delivered on a horse, straddled over her dowry of rugs, blankets and other hand crafted linens laboured over by herself and other female relations. She sat aloft, quaking; I wasn’t sure if it was because she was scared because she was on a horse for the first time, or just suffering from pre-nuptial wedding nerves. She was very young and quite possibly didn’t know her husband-to-be that well and the deafening sound of the drums and zurna was enough to make the most intrepid spouse–to–be a wee bit nervous. She was dressed in a handed-down white dress, red sash and had wild flowers in her hair. The red sash around the waist was a proclamation of virginity, which was very important. In those days it was mandatory for the newlyweds to offer the blood-stained sheets from the new marital bed to authenticate virginity,  today we don’t hear of this so much.  The wedding seemed a bit misogynistic to me. The men partied with the groom, dancing wildly and obviously very inebriated and high on the occasion and they all seemed to be in a world of their own. The women, quite wisely, stayed apart, knowing they would have to pick up the pieces later. After cooking for a week for the masses it was time to take the back seat. 
Today the zurna and drums (gypsy music) have been succeeded by electronic keyboards, instruments and singers amplified to a ridiculously high volume. There is no chance to have a conversation over this noise – but today no one is here to have a chat, today it is "come and see" time. The youth are starting to make their own marriage decisions, rather than have it arranged by their families; A wedding is a big opportunity to see the local talent. Dressing up has also become an event. Big money is spent on the dresses not only for the bride but for the other female relations and the smaller ones who want their day as a princess. The local kuaför or hairdresser is stuffed full on a wedding day with make-up jobs and glittering hair-dos. But still today the wedding celebration is in the village square and companies lease out lorry loads of plastic chairs for the event.  Most importantly,  the older ladies get a chance to get out and feel proud of the generation they have been responsible for raising. It is their day as much as those of marriageable age.  The local boys come and show off and strut, with their rendition of zeybek but the girls get to do their own dances too, albeit his and hers are separate affairs. Guests still line up and money bills and gold are pinned to the newly-weds, the total worth a tad more than 20-something years ago. 

Leaving the village wedding and on my way back to Bodrum I stopped for a wee behind a bush. Got back in the car and the battery was flat (who knows?) Another car leaving the wedding stopped to see if he could help. ‘Yes it is the battery’ he agreed, made a call to his mate and within 20 minutes I had a new battery and was home by midnight on a Sunday night. Would this happen anywhere else? Nice to think that something don't change over years. This is Turkey! 




37 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday to both of you. Hope we can meet up with both of you in the not too distant future. Ciao for now!! Kath & Dave xxxxxxx

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    1. Looking forward to the reunion.

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    2. yes looking forward to seeing your camper van - lots of space around here and running water.

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  2. One of my regrets, I never attended a wedding while I lived in Turkey. This looks like so much fun!

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    1. So much difference between a town and village wedding. Worth experiencing if you get the chance.

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  3. Happy Birthday, Annie! Interesting post even if it isn't yours :))

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  4. I love Turkish weddings. I had a great time when I married my wife here in Turkey and not a drop of alcohol anywhere..it was fantastic.

    Many thanks for the link to my blog, but need you to teach me how I do the same:(

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  5. Go to " design" then "layout" then "blog list" and then copy the address of the blogs you follow into the box, then save.

    Don't think I could manage a village wedding without a drop of the hard stuff.

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  6. Happy birthday to you both.

    A lovely post...it made me think of the Turkish weddings we were invited to attend in France - huge affairs with car numberplates from all over Europe, electronic music so loud it hurt, lovely food, elaborate dresses and hairdos...and the pinning on of money.

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    1. Sounds like Turkish weddings travel well.

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  7. Despite a few invites, we never actually made it to a Turkish wedding (though we heard quite a few around us in Bodrum). We quite fancied disappearing behind the bushes with a sneaky raki with the menfolk. I guess it's not going to happen now. Sad face!

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  8. Hope you have both had a great birthday... love the photos....the dresses are amazing. J

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    1. Thanks Janice - the word "flounce" springs to mind.

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  9. Village weddings are fun - great for people watching. In this area if you get a small hand-towel rolled and wrapped in newspaper then you have a personal invite to eat with the family - means you are really one of them.

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    1. I love the little embroidered towels-they look great in the guest loo.

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  10. That's a lovely guest post..thankyou for that...and a Happy Birthday for yesterday xxx

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  11. Thanks to Ayak for the birthday wishes and thank you Angie for the guest post.

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  12. I hope you had a wonderful birthday. Really enjoyable read as always. Turkish weddings are fantastic. I was married in Turkey, t my Turkish wife and really was an amazing day and experience.

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  13. Thank you Westy. Did you have a traditional wedding? Hope you write about in on your blog.

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    1. I certainly did and a good idea, I guess I should write about it one day..seems a long time ago now though :)..I finally worked out to link your blog, and many thanks for the link to my blog.

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  14. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY"!!! Sending you lots of good wishes.....I've been away in Pennsylvania and stayed away from the computer and I'm catching up now on your posts.
    This was a lovely guest post.....my daughter said if I need a wedding dress I'd rather get one in Istanbul then New York....
    The Turkish village weddings sound wonderful, I've been to weddings a couple of times in Izmir but they don't sound like the one described here...this one sounds like more fun.
    Hope you enjoyed your birthday and ate lots of cake....E.XXX

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  15. Thank you Erica: city weddings are quite different.

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  16. Would it be possible to follow you on facebook?

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  17. Hi Westy - Yep under my full name Annie Onursan

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  18. Hi Annie - a lovely guest post for your birthday. Hope you had a great day. Axxx

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    1. Thank you - Amazed you have time to read any blogs - get back to those Easter eggs, lesson plans and moving.

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  19. Happy birthday to both of you. We really enjoyed the post. It was very like an engagement bash we attended recently where the music blew us out of the room. We took to using our 'kart vizit' to introduce ourselves but the bride's family (Turkish) still thought we were the groom's (American) parents! We're still smarting a bit but we have to confess that they could have been right. We can only imagine what the wedding will be like. Again, happy birthday.

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    1. Ear plugs are a must along with a fixed smile.

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  20. Happy Happy belated b-day to you both, I hope you had a wonderful day as deserved : ) I greatly enjoyed Angie's guest post, and I very much love her cookery book : ): ) how nice that you are both close by. The village wedding post was lovely, and so touching and nice to read that some things still stay the same and everyday folks still give an unconditional helping hand to one another at home, one of things I truly like about home. Iyi ki dogdun! Ozlem x

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  21. Thanks Özlem. I've lost count of the length of time Angie and I have known each other but it spans 4 decades. It'll be great when she moves into her village house across the valley from ours.

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  22. Belated birthday greetings, Annie and thanks for enabling us to read this fascinating post. I've no personal experience of Turkey or Turkish weddings, but what I read here echoes what I've gleaned from Barbara Nadel's Turkish novels. Those dresses are amazing!

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  23. Wonderful birthday party memories! Thanks for sharing this interesting post. I am looking for Chicago wedding venues and searching them online as don’t have to go to venues to see or select them. Thinking to hire an event planner to look after things.

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