A Message in a Bottle and a Test in a Teacup!

Turkey is a country steeped in history and tradition. Some of these traditions are well known, whilst others are a well-kept secret!

If you have ever ventured to Tlos, you may or may not have seen a little cottage nestled near the ruins, with an unbroken, empty glass bottle sitting atop its roof.  Why, you might ask?

In rural Turkey, this is a sign that here lives girl of marrying age and it is an invitation to passing suitors.  Any young man who is able to knock the bottle from the roof of the house may call upon the young lady and be assessed by the family of their suitability to marry their daughter.  This assessment is predominately of their financial ability to provide for their daughter and any future grandchildren after wedlock.

But tradition does not stop here! If the bride to be is happy with the young man chosen, there is one further test to pass! Now, we all know that Turks love their Coffee, or Kahve in Turkish, and on such a special occasion, a steaming hot cup of Turkish coffee is served to all… with one small difference for the groom; the coffee is served with salt instead of sugar!

Now the test is for the groom to dink his coffee with no display of displeasure, whilst under the scrutiny of the both his future family and the bride.  Task accomplished and the marriage arrangement is sealed.

So where does this very strange tradition come from, you might ask?  There are many a tale, for the one retold the most, we must go back to the Ottoman era.

It is said that Osman Fevzi, a colonel in the Ottoman Empire, was accidentally served “salty coffee” by his bride during their pre-marriage ceremony, and not wanting to embarrass her by revealing this mistake, he happily drank his coffee, without grimace.  It was only later that his bride realised her mistake. However, not wanting to bring any shame to his bride, he insisted that he was really rather fond of salty coffee and held onto this story until his grave.

Turkish Proverb – “Coffee should be as black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.”

It certainly seems quite a challenge to wed the girl of your dreams but does set a perfect precedent for the rest of the marriage – effort goes a long way!

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