It is said that the character of a nation is determined and reflected in its culture. In 1923, Turkey declared itself a Republic and thus began a social revolution planned and advocated by its leader, Mustufa Kemal Ataturk, that would transform Turkey into the only secular, democratic nation in the Middle East. In 1926, Ataturk initiated a new code of Turkish civil law that made
civil marriages the only means to marry, thereby making religious marriages illegal. Ataturk also secularized the educational system and woman
were no longer required to wear veils and clothing to cover their entire body. In 1930 women were given the right to vote in municipal elections and nationwide in1934 (France did not allow woman the right to vote until 1944)Yet, despite this long secular, civil and democratic history, when it comes to marriage, Turkish traditions still play a central role. As a participant-observer at a Turkish wedding in southeastern Turkey, this ethnographic study describes and analyzes the ritualistic ceremonies and the social and symbolic interactions of this secular marriage.
|Keywords:||Turkey, Turkish Wedding, Symbolic Interaction, Secularism, Marriage, Ritualistic Ceremonies|
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Saint Anselm College, Malden, MA, USA
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