Your Guide To Turkey



Turkish Beliefs (Superstition)


Good Luck- Bad Luck

Certain beliefs among the members of a society sometimes arise out of fear, sometimes from helplessness and sometimes by chance. These are generally referred to as “superstitions.” These beliefs have existed since the earliest days of mankind. Many of them have no scientific basis and are not linked to any particular religious faith. Although they often appear illogical or unreasonable, they are still an integral part of peoples’ hearts, brains and minds. In the emergence of such beliefs, peoples’ psychological make-up, the words of the, often illiterate, elderly as well as those of religious officials have all played a role. These beliefs have even revealed differences between individuals, yet they all have certain aspects in common.

Popular Beliefs Related to Spirits, Graveyards, Holy Tombs and Visits:

- Anyone who cuts down trees near visiting places will be paralyzed.
- Anyone who takes anything from a holy tomb will be paralyzed.
- It is not good to point to the grave. The fingers of anyone who does so will grow weak and thin.
- If an animal puts out its tongue when being sacrificed, it is believed that the owner of the animal will die within the year.
- If a child constantly cries, it is believed that someone will die in that house.
-When a bunch of flowers is placed on a grave, the spirit of that person returns. He knocks his head on the wood when trying to get up and says, “My God, I am dead”.
- The flesh and the bones separate 40-52 days after death. People gather in the dead person’s house and pray together for the flesh and the bones to separate easily.
- The spirit of the dead person visits his house seven days following death.
- If a show turns upside down when being taken off, it is believed that the owner of the shoe will die in the near future.
- Seeing dead people in dreams is regarded as an omen for the living. It is believed that a guest will come if a dead person is seen in a dream.
- It is not good to put one’s socks near the head end of the bed, it is believed that the owner of those socks will soon pass away.
- Bringing a dead body inside a house is considered unlucky. If that happens, it is believed that three people from that house will die.
- Painting is considered a sin, it is believed that on doomsday the painter will have to give his spirit to the things he painted.
- Angels will fly away from places that house paintings. - Trees in graveyards may not be cut down, it is believed that genies live among such trees.
- It is forbidden to sleep in a graveyard.
- If someone dies at night, a knife is placed on the body until morning.
- In order to make sweet yogurt, bushes from a grave are picked and thrown in the fire over which the milk is heated.
- It is considered bad luck to break a mirror.
- The lights are not turned off for three days in a house in which a dead body has been washed.
- The shoes of people who come to offer their condolences are not turned around.
- It is believed that, if the gravedigger is not given a tip the deas will not rest easy.
- One may not sit cross-legged when the call to prayer is recited.
- It is forbidden to take stones or soil from graveyards.
- The howling of a dog is considered a sign of approaching death.
- The house is not cleaned, clothes are not washed and water is not taken from outside until the dead person has been buried.
- Graveyards are never enlarged, since it is believed that this will increase the number of dead people.
- Those who wear dead peoples’ clothes will live a long time.
- The shroud may not be cut with knife or scissors.
- If a cat jumps over a dead body before it is taken out of the house, it is believed that the body will become a fearsome ghost.
- If an animal walks in front of someone who is performing ritual prayers in a house, the prayer is invalidated.
- While performing ritual prayers in rural areas, stones or sticks are piled up to prevent animals approaching.
- Smoking is not permitted in graveyards.
- If someone becomes infested with lice, it is believed that he will die soon.
- The neighbors of a dead person pour all the water out of their houses, since it is believed that they will die if they do not.
- Beds are repaired starting from the head end. Only the beds of dead people are repaired starting from the foot end.

Popular Beliefs Related to Animals:

- A snake in a house, guards it.
- If a snake is killed, thrown in water and disappears, it is believed that there will be continuous rain and floods.
- When a wolf howls, the weather will be very cold, or there will be snow.
- If an owl hoots in front of a house, either a member of the house will or there will be a disaster in that house.
- When a cow gives birth, heavy things are not carried into the house, since it is believed that if heavy things are carried in, the cow will not have enough milk.
- When a cow gives birth, its first milk is not taken outside the house for fear the cow will lose its all milk. Coal is mixed with the first milk of animal.
- It is not good to milk an animal onto the soil, or the animal may fall ill.
- If a stranger walks among a herd on its way to the high plateaus, it is believed that the animals will not become pregnant that year.
- A black cat passing in front of a person and the hooting of an owl are both considered bad luck. A burning wooden stick has to be thrown at the owl.
- If a person comes across a rabbit on his path, he may have bad luck. He should turn around and walk back by the same road he came.
- The howling of a jackal is considered bad luck. The man who hears it must spit on the ground; otherwise he may face a disaster.
- When a jackal starts to howl, it is a sign of sunny weather. (According to another belief, it is a sign of rain)
- If a person steps on a cat by mistake before entering his wedding chamber, he will not succeed in his duties.
- If a snake is thrown into the fire alive, it will rain.
-If a crow comes near a house and caws, that house will receive news from abroad.
- It is good to see scorpions in one’s dreams.
- Sleeping in the same room as a cat is considered bad. The cat will steal the person’s soul and shortens his life.
- When a crow caws, snow is on the way.
- Dogs barking late at night, a cock crowing at an unexpected time and the bellowing of an ox in the night are all considered signs of bad things to come. (Such as an enemy attack, earthquake, catastrophe etc)
- If a dog looks at the sky and barks, it is a sign of blood.
- It is sin to kill a pigeon, dove, martin or stork.
- Lambs are not shown to foreigners unless they buy them.
- The flesh of hunted animals is not given to others. If it is given, coins have to be taken in return.
- Seeing a snake is considered good luck.
- Seeing a partridge is considered bad luck.
- When the cock crows, it will rain.
- If an owl lands on a house, it is believed that that house will have bad luck.
- A chicken crowing like a cock is a sign of bad luck. That chicken must be killed immediately.
- Cats never fall on their back because one was touched by Ali.
- The bones of a sacrificed animal may not be broken. - The blood and the bones of a sacrificed animal must be buried.

Beliefs Related to the Stove and Fire:

- Spitting on fire, cursing or throwing water and nails on it will bring bad luck.
- If someone gives fire from his stove to somebody else in the morning, it is believed that his own stove will go out.
- Genies cannot avoid places where a fire is burning.
- Leaving the stove empty will bring bad luck.
- If a trivet falls down suddenly for no reason, that house will suffer a catastrophe.
- If a trivet is left empty, it is believed that the devil will use it for cooking.
- If a trivet is left empty, the water for a dead person will soon be boiled on that trivet.
- If water boils on the trivet for no reason, it means one’s enemies are increasing.
- Fire is not taken out of the house in the evening.
- If there is not enough light in the house, the stove will go out. The grave of the householder will also be dark.
- If sick animals jump over the fire, they may recover.
- Water is not used to die down the fire, it is covered with soil.
- Even if the fire went out long ago, it is not good to sleep near the ashes. People believe that the devil and genies romp in the ashes.
- Throwing water or urinating on the ashes are not considered good.
- To stop it raining, a trivet with a knife on the middle is put in the garden.
- It is a sin to sleep near a stove which has gone out.
- One cannot walk on or jump over ashes at night, since it is believed that the devil will comes.
- If the fire makes too much noise, it is a sign that there is gossip about the person who lit the fire.

Popular Beliefs Related to Agriculture and Plants:

- If someone falls from an elm tree, he won’t live long. - Elm wood must not be used for cradles or chests.
- The devil will take away anyone who sleeps under a fig tree.
- People living under walnut trees are taken away by the devil.
- Having sexual intercourse in the fields damages their fertility.
- Anyone who eats a single grape or the stem side of a melon will be orphaned.
- The olive is regarded as sacred.
- Sleeping alone under a large, old tree is not good for the future.
- It is not permitted to have sexual intercourse or urinate in a field full of crops.
- Walking in fields where crops are being harvested reduces the yield.
- Anyone who goes to the fields for harvesting has to take a bath and perform a ritual ablution for good luck first.
- Anyone who lies under the shade of a walnut tree becomes unsuccessful and incompetent. It is thought that everything that happens around it is recorded by the walnut tree, and when it is cut down all secrets comes to light from the middle of the tree.
- If the clothes of a baby are hung on a wild tree, the baby will become wild, too.
- It is a sin to spill the seeds of the pomegranate because the pomegranate is regarded as the fruit of heaven.
- When taking milk or yogurt out of the house, coal or a green leaf is put on top, otherwise it is believed that the cow will become paralyzed.
- Anyone who sits or lies under a mulberry tree will be paralyzed by a demon.
- If dough leaps out of the pot while being kneaded, a visitor will come.
- Any house which has many water vessels will see many deaths.
- Death rarely comes to a house which is full of wheat.
- Anyone who sleeps by the edge of a field will be paralyzed.
- Anyone who sleeps under an olive tree will be overcome by sleepiness.
- Anyone who sleeps under a fig tree will be overcome by sleepiness.

Beliefs Related to Parts of the Body:

- When a tooth is extracted, it either has to be buried or hideden in a place that nobody can find.
- Joining one’s hands on one’s knees and crossing the fingers of one’s hands are considered signs of bad fortune, so one must try not to do so.
- Cracking one’s knuckles is a sign of good health.
- When washing one’s hands, one must start with the right hand, otherwise he may have bad luck.
- When shaking hands or giving something to someone, the right hand must be used. The left hand is considered a sign of bad luck.
- One must not face in the direction of Mecca when putting one’s socks on.
- One must start with the right foot when putting on one’s socks.
- When someone has an itchy nose, it means people are gossiping about him.
- If one’s right hand itches, it is a sign that money is on the way. If the left hand itches, it is believed that money will be spent.
- The nails are not cut at night.
- Chewing gum is not allowed at night. People think it is not gum but the flesh of a dead body that is being chewed.
- It is believed that anyone who has an itch on his feet will go on holiday.
- Agate stops bleeding and brings good fortune.
- If an infant walks between two people who have not performed a ritual ablution, it is believed that the child will have open sores on his body.
- Hearing echoes in the left ear is a sign of prosperity.
- Hearing echoes in the right ear is a sign of good health.
- A twitch in the eye is considered a bad sign, as people believe that it is the messenger of death.
- When someone has echoes in the ear, it is believed that he or she has been remembered by a person living abroad.
- Putting one leg over the other when sitting is viewed as sinful.
- If a person loses a tooth from the upper side of the jaw, it is believed that he or she will lose one of his parents.
- If a person loses his top-right molar, it is believed that he will lose either his older brother or his uncle.
- If a person loses his top-left molar, it is believed that he will lose either his brother or his child.
- An itch in the hand means money is on the way.
- If someone steps on hair that has been cut, the owner of the hair will have a headache.
- If birds take the hair away, the owner of the hair will have a headache.

Beliefs Related to Celestial Bodies:


- People, who bathe under the moonlight and in shadow, will shine as bright as the moon.
- Water on which the moonlight has been reflected may not br drunk, since it is believed that anyone who drinks that water have bad luck.
- Someone dies when a shooting star is seen.
- Babies born on the full moon are considered lucky, and it is believed that these babies will have a bright destiny.
- Girls born on the full moon are very beautiful with shining skin when they grow up.
- Cursing and spitting at the moon are considered unlucky.
- Sleeping while sun is going down may shorten one's life span.
- Working in the fields during the solstice is not allowed.
- Animals sense the coming of a solar eclipse and express it with fear and screaming.
- The sun shines on the beautiful.
- Fruits that have been seeded during the old moon, bring abundance to the fields.
- When the moon is in crescent position, if it points to the earth, the month will be rainy, if they point to the sky, the month will be be dry.
- If someone loses his child as the sun goes down, he must not drink water.
- Sowing and harvesting activities are not allowed before the new moon.
- Trees are not cut down when there is no moon.
- Teeth are not extracted on days when there is no moon.
- It is not permitteded to go to or come back from the high plateaus or to go to the forest when there is no moon.
- Anyone who eats as the sun goes down will have bad luck.
- It is believed that all the saints come together when there is a shooting star.

Beliefs Related to Birth and Forty Days:

- A woman may not go far from her house until 40 days after childbirth.
- She may not go out of her house at night.
- Koran, amulets, knives and black cumin are placed by the head of a baby for 40 days.
- Matches and brooms are placed in the room where a woman who has had a baby within the last 40 days sleeps.
- Such a woman is not left alone in the house at night.
- After the 4oth day, the woman visits her three neighbors first before going any distance away from her house.
- Women and their babies are not allowed to see each other for 40 days.
- Visitors to women within 40 days of childbirth give coins or money in order to protect baby.
- Cats and dogs are not allowed inside the room where there is a baby younger than 40 days; otherwise the skin of the baby turns red.
- Menstruating women are not allowed to see a deer in menstruation, as deer give birth once in seven years, it is assumed that the woman, too, will not have a child for seven years.
- If a baby younger than 40 days has to be left alone in the house, a knife, onion and garlic are put near him.
- People carrying gold or money are not allowed to see such a baby. If they do, gold and money are placed near the baby for a while.
- When a woman visits a house within 40 days of giving birth, she pours out water with myrtle leaves before entering the house.
- If a bridal procession passes in front of the house of such a woman, it is believed that that bride will not have a baby.
- Flour from the mill is not brought to the house of such a woman.
- Lambs are not shown to anyone unless aged over 40 days.
- A candle is lit at the head end of the bed of a woman who gave birth less than 40 days ago.
- Two such women exchange needles in order to bring the period to an end.

Popular Beliefs Related to Special Days:

- Sewing, cutting down trees and plants or killing animals are not allowed on Hidirellez day.
- A person who lost a relative on arefe (the day before a religious festival) never sews.
- Working is not allowed on arefe.
- Trees are not cut down on arefe or during festivals.
- Closed flour sacks are opened on arefe.
- Bringing firewood to the house on arefe is considered bad luck, as the belief is that a snake will come to the house with it.
- Soap may not be used on arefe.
- On Hidirellez, yogurt can be made with water brought to the house early in the morning. The use of yeast is not necessary.
- Anyone who takes bath in the river before the sun rises will be healthy.
- A jug of water should be taken inside the house before the sun rises on Hidirellez. This water is supposed to bring good health to the house.
- On asure (pudding made with cereals, sugar and raisins) month (during fasting) young trees are not allowed to be cut down.
- Lambs are not counted until hidirellez.

Popular Beliefs Related to Stone and Water:

- It is unwise to enter a lake at night. It is believed that genies and pixies bathe in lakes at night and may people’s steal souls.
- Anyone urinating outside at night will be paralyzed by pixies.
- Knives are not put into boiling water.
- Spitting on water brings bad luck.
- Sleeping near fountains attracts the devil.
- Sleeping on a big stone with deep roots is not advised, since it is believed that the devil will come.
- Jumping over water in which clothes are washed is ill advised since it is believed that the devil lives in it.

Popular Beliefs Related to Darkness and Light

- If an onion is eaten in the evening, angels will not visit the place where it happened.
- Looking in the mirror in the evening shortens one’s life.
- Peppery things like pepper, onion or garlic are not given out of the house at night.
- Milk, yogurt and cheese are not given away at night, if necessary, these are covered or coal and green leaves are put on them.
- It is a sin to whistle at night.
- Salt is not given out of the house at night.
- The front door is not cleaned at night.
- Bread baskets are not given from one house to another.
- If children play knucklebones it is believed that an enemy will come.

Popular Beliefs Related to Abundance:

- He who eats the first bread made from the first flour from the mill will lose his wife.
- A house will suffer a decline in prosperity if yeast is given to other houses.
- The house will suffer a decline in prosperity if someone steps on or drops breadcrumbs.
- A piece of bread is taken out of the mouth of anyone going abroad.
- Sewing things while people are still wearing them brings bad luck.
- Cutting bread with a knife damages the prosperity of the house.
- If someone starts eating without calling on God, he will still be hungry after the meal because he has shared his food with the devil.
- When knitting socks, one must start from the top, otherwise they will not last long.
- If someone breaks his scapula, it is believed that he will have good fortune.

Popular Beliefs Related to the House:

- It is considered inappropriate to put black stone on the groundwork of the house.
- Anyone who sits by the front door will be slandered. - It is not good to sleep near the wall, as the person who does so may end up paralyzed.
- The devil visits a dirty house, so that house will be full of discord instead of happiness.
- If a member of the household goes abroad, either the house is not cleaned, or else no visitors are received on that day.
- People do not visit their neighbors with the rope that helps carry goods, since it is believed that this rope may bring bad luck to the house visited.
- People are advised not to sit by their front door, lest they give the impression they are poor.
- One should not enter one’s neighbor’s house carrying a rope because this may disturb the prosperity of the house.
- One should not sit at the threshold of one’s house, as that is where the devil sits.
- It’s a sin to sit at one’s threshold when it is raining.

Popular Beliefs Related to Events in the Atmosphere:

- People throw a knife into the garden to stop it hailing. - When a skull is taken out of the grave and boiled in water, it rains.
- During the devil’s wedding ceremony (rain in April) anyone standing in the rain will be taken away by genies.
- Rain in April is something like holy water, it is lucky. Getting wet in the April rain brings good health.
- Biting iron while there’s thunder brings good luck.
- Female creatures turns into males and males intos female if they walk under a rainbow.
- Eating a few haildrops at the first hailstorm of the year is considered good for the health.
- A knife is thrown onto the roof of the house when there is thunder.
- It is believed that putting a trivet in the garden may stop hail.
- A knife is thrust into the ground when lightning flashes in the sky.

Popular Beliefs Related to Seasons, Months and Days:

- No one is allowed enter a house except for the residents on the first day of March. It is imagined that lambs and fawns will die otherwise.
- If the first people seen on the first day of January look well and healthy, the year will be a healthy one, if they do not look well, someone may fall ill during the year.
- On Tuesdays, washing clothes is not allowed. It is believed that anyone who wears clean clothes washed on Tuesday will die soon.
- Babies born on Tuesdays will become killers.
- No wedding ceremonies are held on Tuesdays.
- Both throwing dust and working are forbidden on Fridays.
- The baby conceived on Friday becomes wise.
- Washing clothes is not allowed on Saturdays.
- If a baby is born late in Friday night, it will grow rich. - If a person knits on Fridays, she will lose her good luck.
- If a person cuts his nails on Friday night, he will fall out of favor.
- Anyone who enters a field on 7th August will be paralyzed.
- Quilts are not covered with sheets on Saturdays, as it is believed that quilts which are covered on Saturdays are waiting for dead bodies.
- Fields are not sowed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. - On Fridays, trees are not cut down until Friday prayers
- No sowing is done on Fridays.
- Any job started on Monday goes slowly.

Popular Beliefs Related to the Sexes:

- If a man turns the lights on in a room, that household will enjoy plenty.
- If a woman slows a man down on the road, it is assumed that bad luck will ensue.
- If a woman passes through between two men, it is believed that she will never have a baby.
- If a man passes through between two women, his words will not be listened to.
- If a man passes through between two girls, he will have a very sparse beard.
- If a woman drinks half glass of tea, she will lose her husband.
- If a woman passes in front of a huntsman on the road, the hunt will not be successful.
- If the first hair of a baby girl is cut by her uncle (mother’s brother), her hair will be abundant.
- The first hair of a baby boy must be cut by his uncle. - Girls who marry and go to their new houses leave their parents’ houses on Thursday or Sunday.
- During the ram mating ceremony, if a girl is put on the ram, it is believed that the lambs born of it will be female, if a boy is put on, the lambs will be male.

Popular Beliefs Related to Roads and Travelling:

- Anyone who spits while taking a trip will meet with a catastrophe.
- Turning and looking back on the road is considered unlucky.
- It is unlucky to sleep where three roads meet.
- If someone drops a spoon from his or her hand, it is believed that a visitor may come.
- If someone drops food in his house, it is believed that a hungry visitor will come.
- If a man goes hunting, his wife throws a broom after him.
- A man going hunting is never asked where he is going. If anyone does ask him, he has to give up the hunting trip.
- If one shoe ends up standing on the other, it is believed that the owner of the shoes will take a vacation.
- Sleeping near roads is not approved of. Such people are told “You will fly with the wind” (meaning, you will be paralyzed by the devil).
- In order not to damage the prospects of the hunt, people do not talk with huntsmen while they are getting ready.
- Before going hunting, a rifle is put on the ground. A boy or a girl who is at least three or four years old jumps over it.

Popular Beliefs Related to Belongings:

- If a shoe turns upside down, it is believed that bad health will result.
- Soap is not passed to somebody else by hand, since it is believed that these two people will end up arguing. The back of the hand is used when passing the soap.
- After eating, the spoon is left with the bowl facing upwards. Any other position results in bad luck.
- If anyone drinks water out of a lid he will have bad fortune.




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