Importance of Food Culture in Our Traditions
Tradition is a passing knowledge from one generation to another, design, faith, life styles, in short, nonmaterial culture. In a narrow sense, on the other hand, tradition is all opinions of the society on important sacred and political topics. Traditions are divided into two parts: oral or written. Just as customs ... But they are more powerful since they have an important role of regulating and supervising social life.
Traditions, just like customs, have types that are determined by law. Law puts the punishments to attitudes against traditions into a scale. Traditions usually manage a wider area compared to laws. That's why we investigated our traditions for you. As you know, we have many traditions, which are our cultural richness and heritage, and some of them are as follows: Military Service, circumcision, holidays, baby naming, death, confinement and the tradition of children's games. I would like to handle food and drink culture about these traditions and our various richnesses, and share a few examples with you. We know how important food is in our culture and how rich our cuisine is consequently.
Almost every dish has a story. For example, ricepitched. Motherinlaw cooks it and says: 'Look, my daughter, you can't see anything from outside because it's covered with rice dough. But you know that you have lots of herb and materials in it. Our house should also be like this, no one should know what is in.' to the bride, giving advice. There are many stories like this in fact, depending on the regions.
Common joy, different traditions
I would also like to talk about our bairam traditions. Bairam, in definiton, is rejoice and being glad. And we feel the happiness of having reached a bairam after Ramadan. As you know, Ramadan is a religious bairam of Muslims. When our prophet migrated to Medina, people in Medina have been celebrating two bairams since GOOD period. They organized festivals, Sudanese people played games and they had various celebrations in joy. After Hijra, these feasts were replaced by Ramadan and Eid. The prophet said: ' You used to celebrate two bairams before. He brought better ones for you. Those are Ramadan and Eid.'
In many of our regions, bairam traditions are very similar as well as others. However, catering and dining traditions may change according to regions. For example in Ağrı, an animal is sacrificed by an elder of the village at the night of bairam eve. A dish called Halise is prepared by wheat, butter and meat. A huge cube is made for Halise and it is released to tandoor. All raw ingredients are put inside. Teenagers of the village meet, have religious talks, play games and tell stories until morning. The dish is stirred in tandoor one by one, nonstop until the morning. When the food is thoroughly cooked in dawn, bones are removed from the meat. All ingredients get a proper consistency and this continues until bairam prayer. It is served to about 10002000 people having done the bairam prayer. This tradition still exists and this is how another meal, named Keşkek in some regions, is also done:
Slowly cooked in a huge cube made of clay and tandoor until morning and served with butter on it to lots of people, with prayer.
Bairam Preparations Start Early in Kocaeli
In Kocaeli, preparations start with cleaning 15 days before bairam. Lokma (dough balls with sherbet) is fried at holy nights before bairam and given to neighborhood and children. Qur'an is read and the dead are remembered. Meals are prepared on bairam eve. Most common bairam meals are soup, beans, walnuts, Turkish delight, keskek, stuffed pepper with bulgur, stuffed zucchini blossoms, stuffed chard and stuffed leaves.Dartı, a unique tasty sauce, is used especially for dolma(stuffed things). Rice, compote and the dessert Hosmerim is made. Hosmerim is made everywhere but this is different. Desserts like rice pudding and zerde (a sweet, gelatinous dessert colored and şavored with saffron), and assorted pitas are also made in villages. Various herbs are used. Kandira yoghurt is also to be mentioned when Kocaeli is the matter.
Most beautiful clothes are worn during festival
All family members take a shower at bairam eve and they get up early at bairam. Everyone wears their best new clothes. Men go to bairam prayer, women prepare for feast, and they go to cemeteries together. When they return home, they sit altogether and eat. After dinner, everyone congratulates each other starting from the elders in family and continuing with neighbors and relatives. Cologne, chocolate and baklava are given to those who came to visit, handkerchiefs, scarves and socks are given as gifts. Money and candies are given to children.