REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

Childhood Age

A series of rules, customs, ceremonies, processes and practices are exist which, covers the development of the child after birth and which regularize his/her relations with parents, other members of the family and social surroundings. The child has to be protected as he/she passing through the stages, taken care of, and gradually adapt to the forms and values, in other words the model adopted by the group or cultural environment of which he/she is a part. These process and practices, customs and ceremonies are sometimes flexible and sometimes strict in accordance with the importance attached to them.

Naming the baby;

The first thing is to give a name to the baby. People do not feel comfortable without naming a person, a thing, a situation or an event, and thus without referring to them by a symbol and describing them by means of an adjective. In any event, situation or object without a name causes unease.
In traditional sections of society, the baby is usually given a name with a religious ceremony. This still applies in many places although it is gradually loses influence.

Since naming the baby is no ordinary matter, it is carried out by a celebration and blessing, although this is not overstated. The name, which has been selected beforehand, is given at a meeting held for the purpose. A clergyman or a respected devout individual gives the call to prayer and whispers the name of the baby into its ear three times. If no imam is present, the name is given by the father or grandfather of the child in the same way.

Giving a middle (umbilical) name to the child is also common. The name given to the child while the umbilical cord is being cut off, is called its “umbilical name”.

The umbilical name is given to children in Anatolia because;

- It is believed that the child will be called by his/her umbilical name in the grave,
- He/she will be called by his/her umbilical name,
- He/she will be called by his/her umbilical name as the imam reads the a final repentance and forgiveness prayer for him/her as he/she is lowered into the grave.

Apart from the main name of the person, another name is frequently given and used, especially by close relatives and members of the group of which he/she is a part. This is called the “nickname” and is mostly seen in traditional parts of society, especially in villages.

Giving milk;

Modern medicine and traditional culture agree that mother’s milk is the healthiest nutrition for the baby.
In traditional culture, the first milk is given to the child after three calls to prayer. With this, people believe that the child will have patience in the future. The mother’s first milk is called “ağız” (mouth) and is duly given to the child. It is believed that a child who does not have mouth milk will be thin and weak in the future.

In traditional culture, boys are suckled more than girls. The reason here is that people want their sons to be very strong and powerful.

Teeth wheat;

When the baby teethes, one of the most significant signs of a child’s biological development, Turkish people usually mark the occasion with a ceremony. Behind this ceremony and festivity which are held to mark the appearance of the teeth, which are essential for chewing, are the desires to bless food, increase the child’s chances of earning his/her daily bread, increases in plenty, and so on. In this ceremony, a number of traditional practices also take place to ensure the child has strong and even teeth.

The most common name for this ceremony and festivity, which has different names in different regions, is “teeth wheat”. In different regions, it is called “diş aşı” (teeth meal), “diş bulguru” (teeth bulgur), and “diş buğdayı” (teeth wheat).

Starting to walk; It is a another biological stage for the childhood when, the child starts to walk around. In the past, a number of practices were resorted to for children who, failed to walk in the expected time, who were late to start walking, or who continuously fell down when doing so.
Some of the practices are following;

- Spreading egg on the child’s heels,

- Washing the child in water to which walnut leave and salt has been added,

- Taking the child to places of pilgrimage.

Cutting the fingernails of the child;

Customs and practices related to the first fingernail cutting are also very common in Anatolia. The most common practice is for the baby’s hands to be put in a sack full of money after his/her fingernails have been cut for the first time. If the baby is a boy, the money he takes from the sac is used for the capital of the business he will later set up. If it is a girl, the money she takes is kept as money for her dowry.