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x0x Being a child in Anatolia

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  • Turkish Culture List
    [See more on this subject by visiting the pages selected for you by Anita Donohoe: http://turkradio.us/k/anadolucocuk/ ] x0x Being a child in Anatolia By
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 17 5:06 PM
      [See more on this subject by visiting the pages
      selected for you by Anita Donohoe:
      http://turkradio.us/k/anadolucocuk/ ]

      x0x Being a child in Anatolia


      From clothes to toys... Being a child in Anatolia
      Dolls in Anatolia are still decked out in
      talismanic clothes, as they have been for
      millennia. And children still chase after toy
      wooden carts...

      Everything is charming in miniature... Because its
      cute, just like childrens clothes and toys, which
      have been a focus of love and concern and a source
      of joy and happiness in every society since time
      immemorial. Before a baby is born, friends and
      family members all enthusiastically knit, weave
      and sew elaborately embroidered clothing so as to
      wrap the naked body of the tiny infant in
      mini-garments made with painstaking care in line
      with traditional beliefs. Such clothes are
      naturally shaped by the family environment as well
      as by the customs, traditions, beliefs and
      geography of their society. These millennia-old
      traditions still persist today in Anatolia, cradle
      of civilizations.


      Talismanic clothing and evil eye beads are the
      first thing that pop into mind at the mention of
      childrens clothing in Anatolia.Such clothes, whose
      origin pre-dates the rise of the monotheistic
      religions, utilize a thousand and one different
      materials and are designed to ensure that children
      are healthy and long-lived. Such patchwork
      clothing also expresses traditional beliefs.
      Mothers, for example, who have lost children, make
      patchwork clothes to protect their babies from
      evil spirits. There is a belief that evil spirits
      come in the night and that, as they struggle to
      remove the layers of clothing piece by piece, day
      dawns and they vanish into thin air.

      Let us now relate one such story. There once was a
      woman named Bahar Hatun whose babies died as soon
      as they were born. This grief-stricken young
      mother collected bits of cloth from seven families
      that had been blessed with children and made from
      them a variety of baby clothes.

      Eventually Bahar Hatun gave birth to a beautiful
      baby girl followed immediately by a boy.

      While they were growing up she dressed both of
      them in patchwork clothing and sang them
      lullabies: May he sleep, may he grow / Sleep my
      child, let my yearning arms hold you / May angels
      be at your side every night / Drive away evil
      spirits and watch over my little one.

      And Bahar Hatuns babies grew up to be a fine young
      woman and a strapping young man. And never, until
      he was engaged to be married, did she cease from
      making her sons cloak, waistcoat, and skullcap
      from seven different scraps of fabric, or from
      decking her daughter out in patches of cloth of
      every color in the rainbow until she became a


      Such patchwork clothing is known in the local
      parlance as hastalik sasirtmasi or warding off
      disease. If you see a young person dressed in
      patchwork in the village marketplace, you can be
      sure that this is an expression of traditional
      belief. A number of protective charms are also
      attached to the babys clothes and caps to ward off
      the evil eye:

      seven-eye beads, evil eye beads, blue buttons,
      seashells, coins, parts of birds, frogs and bone,
      animal teeth, lumps of alum,black cumin and other
      seeds, amulets, Mother Fatima or Mother Mary
      hands, Armudiye charms, talismanic metal jewelry,
      colorful tassels, and a myriad of embroidered
      designs... All these charms can be seen lined up
      on the soft undershirts made with fervent belief
      and worn by children. Even the socks, booties and
      rawhide sandals children wear on their feet are
      carefully decorated. We can see even more
      elaborate examples of such patchwork, which
      continues to be worn today in some parts of the
      world, in the clothing of children from Turkestan
      and Uzbekistan.


      Another tradition that lives on today is that of
      making the newborn babys first under garments from
      bits of his fathers old underwear.

      This is done to ensure that the baby, who is used
      to his mothers smell from birth, becomes familiar
      with his fathers smell and learns to love him as
      well. Turning now to some examples,

      Babies were dressed for ceremonies in a shirt and
      undershirt of crushed silk and a life sash that
      was tied with green ribbons over the swaddling
      clothes. Based on sacred belief, this sash
      symbolized longevity for the boy or girl on whom
      it was girded.


      Anatolian toys, products of the creative human
      intelligence and made of all natural materials,
      are at the same time the fruit of a vast
      traditional culture. Wooden carts for boys and
      wooden cradles for girls made from thin tree
      branches or the stalks of plants, and dolls and
      puppets fashioned from wooden sticks and bits of
      cloth, such toys not only provide children with a
      wealth of fun but are also important for
      developing their manual skills and creativity.
      Talismanic clothing, evil eye charms, colorful
      booties, soft undergarments, wooden toys... all
      are words that seem to resound in our ears out of
      the depths of history. Nevertheless, you can still
      see such items in many parts of Anatolia today, on
      baby clothes and on toddlers chasing after toy
      wooden carts.

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