Turkish Folklore: Customs, Heroes, Music, and More

Turkish folklore studies began in the early twentieth century. In 1913, Ziya Gökalp wrote about folklore (“halkiyat”) in the periodical “Towards the People.” Later, Riza Tevfik Bölükbasi and Mehmet Fuat Köprülü published essays in several periodicals on the issue. Both the Folklore Association (1927) and the “People’s Houses” (1932) conducted substantial surveys in this topic. These activities are still going on at other university faculties now.

Turkish Folk Music

The boisterous Turkish folklore music, which evolved on the Asian steppes, stands in stark contrast to the polished Ottoman court’s Turkish classical music. Turkish folk music was not written down until recently, and the “Asiklar,” or Turkish troubadours, have kept the traditions alive. Ottoman military music, which originated in Central Asia and is today performed by the “Mehter takimi” (Janissary Band), is distinct from Turkish folk music. It is played with kettle drums, clarinets, cymbals, and bells. The melancholy sound of the reed pipe, or “ney,” dominates the mystical music of the Whirling Dervishes, which can be heard in Konya during the Mevlana Festival in December.

Turkish Folk Dances

Turkish Folklore Customs, Heroes, Music, and More

Fold dances maintain their conspicuous position in Turkish folklore. Folk dances vary in style and content depending on region and area, but they are commonly performed during weddings, summer mountain trips, sending boys off to military service, and religious and national holidays such as Ramadan. The following are the most well-known folk dances:

♦ Kasik Oyunu

From Konya to Silifke, the Spoon Dance is performed by gaily clothed male and female dancers who click out the dance rhythm with a pair of wooden spoons in each hand.

♦ Horon

Only males dressed in black with silver embellishments conduct this Black Sea dance. To the vibrations of the kemence, a primitive sort of violin, the dancers join arms and quiver.

♦ Kilic Kalkan

Bursa’s Sword and Shield Dance, Kilic Kalkan, commemorates the city’s Ottoman occupation. It is solely performed by men, who are costumed in early Ottoman combat regalia and dance to the sound of crashing swords and shields.

♦ Zeybek

Colorfully clad male dancers known as “Efe” represent strength and heroism in this Aegean dance.

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Turkish Folk Heroes

Turkish Folk Heroes Turkish Folklore

Pertaining to the long stretches of the history of Turkey, there have been numerous Turkish fold heroes who outshine many of others. Here are a few of them:

♦ Yunus Emre

One of Turkey’s crown jewels, the 13th-century philosopher poet preached global themes of love, fraternity, brotherhood, and divine justice. His straightforward and straightforward style is still relevant and thought-provoking today. More information can be found here. Emre Yunus.

♦ Nasrettin Hoca

Nasrettin Hoca was a sage and humorist from Aksehir in the 13th century. His witticisms are well-known in Anatolia and frequently come up in conversation. More information on Nasreddin Hodja can be found here.

♦ Köroglu

A 15th-century folk poet, Köroglu was a hero of his time and a role model for his peers. His exploits have been told for generations, and possibly more so now than ever before. Köroglu was one of the first to advocate for the idea of unrestricted assistance to the destitute and downtrodden.

♦ Karagöz

A shadow puppet of a jester who is claimed to have resided in Bursa in the 14th century. Karagöz is a savage commoner who utilises his witty repartee to get the better of his haughty pal Hacivat. The puppets are projected onto a white screen and are composed of brightly painted, translucent animal skins.

Turkish Folk Literature

Consisting of literary works such as “Tekke” and “Asik,” which are generally anonymous and transmitted down through generations. On the part of Turkish folklore, epics, legends, folk poems, ballads, elegies, folk songs, riddles, folk tales, anecdotes, proverbs, idioms, and rhymes are only a few examples.

Turkish Performing Arts

Performing arts also hold their prominent stance in Turkish folklore. Traditional Turkish performing arts include the following:

♦ Karagoz and Hacivat

Shadow puppets of human and animal figures, made out of leather and coloured, are thrown onto a white curtain with a light source behind them in traditional shadow theatre. For more information on Karagoz, click here.

♦ Meddah

A one-act dramatic play in which the narrator also imitates the play’s numerous characters.

♦ Village Plays

In small villages around Anatolia, plays are performed in accordance with rural traditions on special days, weddings, and holidays.

♦ Orta Oyun

In style and topic, it is similar to Karagöz & Hacivat, except the parts of “Kavuklu” and “Pisekar” are played by real actors.

♦ Tuluat Theater

A hybrid of Orta Oyun and western theatre, frequently referred to as improvisational theatre, in which actors “improvise” their roles and lines throughout the performance.

♦ Asuk – Masuk

A type of Orta Oyun performed by two males, whose bodies are painted with a man and female face, their heads are entirely clothed, and they play energetic music and dance choreography. Masuk is the “lady” who is adored by Asuk, and Asuk is the “man” who is in love with Masuk.

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The Beauty of Turkish Folklore

Distinct sort of games, clothing etc. are what outshine the Turkish folklore. Let’s have look at some of them:

♦ Children’s and Adult Games

Turkish folklore contains a plethora of games for both kids and adults. These can be used in the garden, during conversations, and when visiting people. These games can necessitate the use of specialised equipment. This category includes “Hide and Seek” games, games based on religion and sorcery, and mind games based on mimicry.

♦ Clothing

Turkish traditional culture includes traditional dress. The Turks used to weave their own clothes and generate colours from natural plant components, and the designs they created mirrored their emotions. Each region had its own own style of apparel, hats, scarves, and socks, which have all piqued attention and appreciation over the centuries.

♦ Folkloric Knowledge

Traditional Turkish medical and veterinary medicine, religious traditions, the calendar, practical weather forecasting, and law all have rich folklore elements. These disciplines, each of which is now a branch of science, are topics for folkloric inquiry since their traditional forms have been preserved outside of cities.

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