Turkish Daylights: Water
Recently I found myself comforting a dear friend who was crying uncontrollably. One of the first things that came to my mind was to fetch a glass full of water and to make her drink a few sips to make her calm down.
The next day, when my friend’s sorrow had faded, she jokingly told her mum about the incident and that I’d brought her some water: “No one has ever given me water before when I’ve been upset. I was wondering why she was doing it. Maybe to recover the tears I had cried?”
Recurring to water in such a situation is without doubt something I learnt in Turkey. I remember being surprised myself, at first, when the answer to fainting or crying seemed to be water.
In the Turkish culture water is of special importance. The climate is very hot so it’s of utmost importance to hydrate oneself to a sufficient extent. Water holds a sacred and spiritual meaning, too. After saying a prayer, people tend to move their hands over their faces as if they were washing them with water. This gesture is performed to make their prayers be acknowledged, in such a way as saying amen.
Water also has its place in other everyday life situations. A tradition that I particularly like is the act of pouring water behind a person leaving on a journey. This means you wish the person a smooth trip, as effortless as water flows. The matching saying is Su gibi git, gel which translates into “Go and come back like water”.
It most certainly is no coincidence that one of Turkey’s bottled water brands is called hayat, life. Water is life.
Is there any common custom involving water in YOUR culture that you would like to share?