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Mourning Rituals

The funerals, after death ceremonies, prayers and offerings of different religions are quite assorted in Istanbul. It is common however, in all religions and in most circumstances to send food to the house of the deceased.

Muslims bury the deceased as soon as possible and on the evening of the funeral they read the Koran with neighbors and friends, pray for the soul of the deceased and hand out helva. The same prayers (Mevlit) take place on the 40th and 52nd days following the death and on the anniversary of the funeral, either at home or at a mosque. The Mevlits at home usually take place in the afternoons and are followed by a big meal. It is a tradition to serve Akide Şekeri (Akide Candy) and Lokum (Turkish Delight) in paper cones after the Mevlits take place either at home or at the mosque. It is very rude to refuse this offer therefore it is advisable to take it by saying Allah kabul etsin (May the God accept).

The funeral of Armenians does not take place immediately after death. The first Saturday following the funeral the Armenians cook a kind of semolina Helva and serve it to friends and neighbors for the soul of the deceased. Friends and neighbors carry food to the house of the deceased for about a week and the house is open for everyone. The Sunday following 40 days and after the death and during the anniversaries of someone's death, funeral prayers take place at the cemetery and kete, sandwiches, bitter almond and fruit juice are served.

The Byzantine Greeks cook a kind of Helva called Koliva which is served during funerals, on the 3rd, 9th and 40th days after the funeral, on the anniversaries of the deceased. The Koliva is served at the cemetery on the anniversary of the deceased.

In the Jewish religion, when someone dies, neighbors carry food to the home of the deceased. After the funeral a table set and the meal consists mostly of cheese, olives, jams, butter etc. and everyone eats and drinks including alcoholic beverages. In Istanbul the alcoholic beverage is most often Rakı. Prayers and Mevlit takes place every night for 8 days. The pictures and mirrors in the home are covered with sheets. For Mevlit to be performed 10 men must be present. Coffee and grapes are served after the Mevlit. Every month a Mevlit is read until the first anniversary and then every anniversary thereafter. Jews give great importance to traditions and some have different mourning processes i.e. the relatives and close friends sit on the floor and the men do not shave for 8 days. After the 8th day a relative or a close friend would take them to bathe. They do not comb and do not go to work for 8 days.

Holy Days
Mourning Rituals
Turkish Coffee
Kirkpinar Oil-Wrestling
Traditions & Habits
Religious Colors
Islam in Turkey
Istanbul's Holy Places
Ankara's Holy Places
Famous Personalities
Legendary bazaars
Turkish Cuisine
Special Tastes
Hubble-bubble (Nargile)
Rakı and Meyhane
Hamam - Turkish Bath
Luck Games
A Little Turkish Fun

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