In my pre-village life I could count the number of weddings that I had been to on one hand (including my own). I could also count the number of funerals that I had been to on my other hand (including both of my parents). Now since our move to Türkiye our life is inundated with them both and honestly, enough is enough!
Thankfully this year’s düğün (wedding) season has started to slow now that we have moved into autumn although I did come home to find yet another invitation on my door step yesterday afternoon. This one is for The Turk’s second cousin’s daughter (for feck’s sake), yet another person that I have never met in my entire life. That’s fine although as the yabancı I am usually dragged around the room like a trophy. Between you and me I think having the yabancı at your wedding is a sign that you have really made it. A yabancı is a real drawcard. Regardless a Turkish wedding reception is great fun, whether you know the wedding party or not and usually the whole village turns out for the event.
Here in the village it is not uncommon for a wedding to go for two or three days not including the nikah. There is the kina gecesi (bridal henna party) where all the bride’s female family members, friends and neighbours get together on the night before the wedding to paint the thick ochre paste on her hands and feet. Then you have the traditional village reception usually held in the school grounds or on the bride’s street where jeans and t-shirts are acceptable attire and, finally if finances allow, the salon reception where you will find yourself dressed up like a starlet on Oscar night with more sparkle, makeup and hairspray than you thought you could wear in a lifetime. The latter two nights are jammed packed with earth rattling Turkish müzik coupled with pounding drums, all night dancing, fireworks and tribal yelling – after all the more noise you make, the happier you are. The only downside to a Turkish wedding is they are generally alcohol free. The Turk and I have taken to hiding the little baby bottles of Angora and an opener in my Fossil handbag so if you ever see me lugging around a huge handbag at a wedding don’t shake it too much. Desperate measures people.
Although most of the weddings are out of the way for the season a cenaze (funeral) can happen at any time of year; actually here in the Village they seem to happen all the time. The first funeral I attended here was for my mother in law. It was heartbreaking. Since then, however, I seem to find myself constantly attending funerals from people in the village, again usually people that I have never met. Of course I have to attend. It is respectful to be seen by the side of The Turk at these events however personally I find funerals highly emotional and, even though I may not have known the person, I hide behind huge sunglasses teary eyed. A funeral will also go on for days (7 days to be exact) and it is necessary to attend every single day, drink copious amounts of çay and, in my case anyway, burst into tears at every prayer. Sadly I now know there is a funeral even before The Turk can open his mouth because I spot the dark blue jacket neatly hung over a chair ready to be slipped on. At that point I usually blurt out, “Oh no! Who’s died now!” because the dark blue jacket is his funeral jacket.
I’ve got to tell you, you run the whole gauntlet of emotions living here in the Village from the excitement of an over the top wedding, the comedy of a ridiculous family feud or the emotions of a neighbour’s death. Even with all the drama that goes on around me I am incredibly happy with my life as it is right now – and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
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