The tradition of dowry has been one of the most important traditions on these lands for centuries. The furniture, properties and money prepared by the family of the soon-to-wed couple in order to contribute to the new unity are called "dowry". All procedures embedded within the tradition such as preparing the dowry, taking it from the bride’s house to the groom’s house, and displaying it are called "tradition of dowry". In this article, we will try to explain the things you want to know about the tradition of dowry from the past to the present.
Dowry preparations of families start with the birth of the baby, and continue until the young girl gets married. Boys also have dowry, but this dowry is not as elaborated and extensive as the dowry of girls. The most important item in a dowry is the chest. Because everything purchased and prepared for the dowry is collected and kept in this chest.
Pinked and lacy table clothes, towels, bedspreads, bundles, and garments are the items that are kept being added to the chest for years. In addition, kitchen utensils and domestic appliances can also be put in the dowry. It is believed that if the things in the dowry are plentiful and valuable, this brings reputation to the family; the more the merrier! Therefore, families prepare the dowry of their daughters with a great effort and patience for years.
When it comes to the tradition of dowry, another thing which is just as important as the preparation of dowry is displaying the dowry. Previously displayed for 40 days in Anatolia in the past, the dowry is still displayed even for one day today. At this stage, the dowry is shown to all the neighbors and relatives to exhibit all the skills of the bride as well as the bride’s relatives to everyone. If they like the dowry, they say "The girl studied, mother knitted"; but if they do not like it, they say "The girl blossomed, the mother slept".
After the dowry is displayed, the dowry is taken to the house of the soon-to-wed couple. Having been prepared in the bride’s house for long years, the dowry chest is delivered to the groom’s relatives before the wedding, and taken to the couple’s house by the family of the groom. After the dowry is taken home, the bride’s relatives place the things in dowry around the house.
As it is seen, there are many fine details around the tradition of dowry. However, this tradition has undergone various changes like the other traditions. As women do not have the time to make handmade laces and table clothes anymore, this has been replaced by ready-made materials. Similarly, the content of the dowry chest has changed accordingly. While some dowry chests are prepared in accordance with the traditions, some may include anything from make-up items to domestic appliances.
Lastly, we should mention that the tradition of dowry is not just a Turkish thing. Generally found in the Middle East, India, and Central Asia, this tradition is kept alive as a rising trend in Europe and Far East today.
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