Shalvar - Page 51 - Posted by Lale on 4/3/2006, 20:03:06
In the book, shalvar is defined as loose Turkish trousers. They are worn by both men and women. Women usually wear some sort of a skirt on top of their shalvar. The degree of "looseness" varies from town to town. (In Turkey almost every town has its own traditional costume). I am attaching here one photo of a guy and one photo of a woman wearing shalvar. However, to see a variety of Turkish folk costumes I recommend this site:
They have nicely classified the Turkish folk outfits by town or locality. They have the outfits for both men (erkek) and women (kadin). In these photos you can also see the stiff, fes-type hats decorated with fake or real coins (women's outfits). This particular headdress is also mentioned in Memed, My Hawk.
Han - Page 61 - Posted by Lale on 4/3/2006, 20:12:34
han = inn
Before the days of hotels, obviously.
Helva - Halva - Page 64 - Posted by Lale on 4/3/2006, 20:23:43
There are two kinds of helva:
1. Made with semolina (irmik helvasI)
2. Made with crushed sesame seeds and the sesame oil obtained from these crushed seeds (tahin helvasI)
I am guessing that the one they buy near the han is the latter, sesame/tahin helvasI (because that's the one you eat with bread).
The semolina helva can be made at home, my mom does it really well.
The sesame seed helva is bought from a store. It is available in many supermarkets here in Canada, I assume it is also available in US. It is very sweet, so you eat it with bread to balance the sweetness. It makes a good, filling meal.
~ Helva Blues ~
One day Nasreddin Hodja felt like eating helva. He would have made some but there was no butter, no sugar and no flour at home. The larder was empty, his stomach was empty and his pockets were empty. He was being tormented with the dream of a huge plate full of helva and he was getting hungrier and hungrier. Finally, he decided to walk down the road to the grocery store.
`Do you have flour?' he asked the grocer.
`I certainly do, Hodja Effendi.'
`Do you have sugar?'
`Yes, I do.'
`Do you have butter?'
`Yes, Hodja Effendi.'
`So then, what's holding you back, my friend? Make yourself a good pot of helva and eat it!'
© 2001 Lale Eskicioglu
Helva (halvah, halva, halavah) : A desert made of sesame seeds and sugar. In Hodja's stories a simpler variation is prepared by flour, butter and sugar. This latter kind is a common food for people with limited means. It tastes great, has nutritional value and easy to make at home. A fancier home version is made with semolina and pine nuts.
SEMOLINA HELVA (irmik HelvasI)
2 cups thick semolina
3/4 cup margarine
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups milk
1/8 cup pine nuts
Melt the margarine in a pan, add the pine nuts and semolina, and sauté over medium heat while continuously stirring until the colour of the pine nuts turns golden brown. Add the milk and stir well, add the sugar and continue to stir. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, or until all of the milk is absorbed by the semolina. Remove the pan from heat, allow to cool for half an hour, air the helva thoroughly with a spoon, transfer to plates and serve.
Page 69 - Eloping / Girl Abduction - Posted by Lale on 4/3/2006, 20:42:28
The lovers are planning to elope. The Turkish expression for this is "girl abduction" even though almost always the girl is a willing party. If a boy likes a girl (and the girl likes him back) but the girl's family doesn't want to marry their daughter to this particular boy (because he is poor or because the girl was promised to someone else before) then the boy abducts the girl. The girl cooperates, so the term elope is appropriate, still, it is considered a kidnapping. The lovers spend a night or two outside the village and then they return back. The girl is now damaged goods so the family has no choice but to marry her to the boy who kidnapped her. The previous suitor is no longer interested, in fact, nobody but the abductor would marry a kidnapped girl. This way, the lovers may have their way. Unless, of course, the boy is killed by the girl's family or by the family of the other suitor. If such a murder occurs then a generations-long "affair of the blood" starts. One family has shed the blood of another thus must be avenged. This way the two families (now blood enemies) keep killing, in turn, one another's young men for generations to come.
When I was a child, everyday in the newspapers we would read yet another affair-of-the-blood killing. But with the globalization, the migration to big towns, the decline of farming and agriculture (i.e. the village life), and maybe even with education (hopefully), these blood killings have become less and less. One doesn't read about it in the papers any more. Maybe it still exists but I want to think that it is far less frequent than 30-40 years ago.
Hat - Page 106 - Posted by Lale on 7/3/2006, 14:40:33
"Hat reform" (Shapka devrimi) happened in 1925. Ataturk said that a nation on its way to civilization had to wear clothes that were adaptible to the new life, that were practical and compatible with civilization. Shalvar was replaced with pants. Various headdresses (turbans etc.), as well as the North-African fez (fes), were replaced by western-style hats. It was forbidden to go out in public in turban, except for religious leaders.
Atatürk's reforms (from http://www.allaboutturkey.com/reform.htm):
Atatürk was a military genius, a charismatic leader, also a comprehensive reformer in his life. It was important at the time for the Republic of Turkey to be modernized in order to progress towards the level of contemporary civilizations and to be an active member of the culturally developed communities. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk modernized the life of his country.
Atatürk introduced reforms which he considered of vital importance for the salvation and survival of his people between 1924-1938. These reforms were enthusiastically welcomed by the Turkish people.
Chronology of Reforms
1922 Sultanate abolished (November 1).
1923 Treaty of Lausanne secured (July 24). Republic of Turkey with capital at Ankara proclaimed (October 29).
1924 Caliphate abolished (March 3). Traditional religious schools closed, Sheriat (Islamic Law) abolished. Constitution adopted (April 20).
1925 Dervish brotherhoods abolished. Fez outlawed by the Hat Law (November 25). Veiling of women discouraged; Western clothing for men and women encouraged. Western (Gregorian) calendar adopted.
1926 New civil, commercial, and penal codes based on European models adopted. New civil code ended Islamic polygamy and divorce by renunciation and introduced civil marriage. Millet system ended.
1927 First systematic census.
1928 New Turkish alphabet (modified Latin form) adopted. State declared secular (April 10); constitutional provision establishing Islam as official religion deleted.
1933 Islamic call to worship and public readings of the Kuran (Quran) required to be in Turkish rather than Arabic.
In 1950, a newly elected government's (Demokrat Parti) first task was to abolish the ban on Arabic "ezan" (call to prayer). So, that was the end of that. Today ezan is still called out in Arabic in Turkey - LE
1934 Women given the vote and the right to hold office. Law of Surnames adopted - Mustafa Kemal given the name Kemal Atatürk (Father of the Turks) by the Grand National Assembly; Ismet Pasha took surname of inönü.
1935 Sunday adopted as legal weekly holiday. State role in managing economy written into the constitution.
Posted by Steven on 8/3/2006, 8:35:15
The world could certainly use a few more Ataturks right now. I recall a few years ago, when there were a lot of "best of the century" lists being published, seeing a list that named Ataturk as the single most influtential person of the 20th Century (ahead of men like Lenin, Mao, Gandhi, Churchill, Einstein and Roosevelt).
In January 1929, the alphabet reform (the switch from Arabic letters to Latin letters) was featured in National Geographic. The article is interesting and the photos are amazing. You can view it in PDF format:
Public Writer - Page 127 - Posted by Lale on 7/3/2006, 14:56:24
In the introduction, Yashar Kemal ( ) says that at some point in his life he was "making a living writing court petitions on my typewriter on a table in the middle of the street."
This profession is later mentioned in the book, when Hatche's mother needs a public writer to have a petition filled out. This vocation is called "arzuhalci" in Turkish. Before the personal computers and internet and such, arzuhalci was very popular in Turkey. In the neighbourhood of every courthouse there would be dozens of arzuhalci, sitting on the sidewalks with their typewriters in front of them.
Here is a story from a friend of mine: Maybe 15-20 years ago, he was working in Ankara in a district where the courthouse was (still is) situated. One day, the company he worked for received some guests, "foreign experts", from Europe. My friend takes them out for lunch, shows them around etc. They see the public writers lined by the buildings, sitting in open air, on the street. Dozens of them, with their little tables and typewriters. The foreign experts want to know what that is all about. My friend, who doesn't feel like explaining in detail (and there might have been a language problem too), wants to brush the question aside with a quick answer. With an air of "Isn't it obvious?", he says: "They are authors, they are writing novels." One of the guests looks about himself. No sea, no river, no forest, nothing pretty to look at, just a busy commercial district. He asks: "Where do they get their inspirations from?"