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Turkish Folk Dances



In Turkey, folklore studies began at the beginning of the 20th century. Ziya Gökalp mentioned folklore ("halkiyat") in the magazine "Towards the People" in 1913. Later Riza Tevfik Bölükbasi and Mehmet Fuat Köprülü wrote articles on the subject in various magazines. A Folklore Association was set up in 1927 and the "People's Houses" (1932) both carried out important survey work in this field. Today these activities are continued in various university faculties.

Main guidelines in Turkish Folklore

Turning points in peoples' lives

This encompasses the preservation of traditional ceremonies connected with birth, childhood, circumcision, marriage and death. These are traditions that have their origins in Shamanism and Islamic beliefs.

Folkloric Knowledge

Folk medicine and veterinary medicine, religious traditions, the calendar, practical weather forecasting and law all exhibit rich folkloric characteristics stemming from traditional Turkish society. These subjects, each of which today is a branch of science, are themes for folkloric research, as they have preserved their traditional forms outside the cities.

Children's and Adult Games

Turkish folklore has a rich treasure of games for children and adults. These can be played in the garden at home, during chats and while visiting people. At times these games require special equipment. Games of "Hide and Seek", games based on religion and sorcery and games for the mind based on imitation come into this category.


Official religious and seasonal holidays and the beliefs and customs associated with them are also an important reason for festivities.


Traditional clothing forms a part of Turkish traditional culture. In the past the Turks would weave their own clothing and make dyes from natural plant ingredients, in a way that reflected their feelings in the designs they created. Each region had its own characteristics in the way of clothing, headwear, scarves and socks, which have all, through the centuries, attracted interest and admiration.

Turkish Folk Dances

Folk dances have different characteristics based on region and location and are generally engaged in during weddings, journeys to the mountains in the summer, when sending sons off to military service and during religious and national holidays. The best known folk dances are:


This Black Sea dance is performed by men only, dressed in black with silver trimmings. The dancers link arms and quiver to the vibrations of the kemence, a primitive type of violin. For more info CLICK HERE

Kasik Oyunu

The Spoon Dance is performed from Konya to Silifke and consists of gaily dressed male and female dancers clicking out the dance rhythm with a pair of wooden spoons in each hand.

Kilic Kalkan

The Sword and Shield Dance of Bursa represents the Ottoman conquest of the city. It is performed by men only, dressed in early Ottoman battle dress, who dance to the sound of clashing swords and shields without music.


Zeybek Dances (a dance of western Anatolia or its music) appear to our minds whenever Western Anatolian Folk Dances especially of Izmir, Aydin, Denizli, Balikesir and Mugla are told.

Zeybek dances are various about 150 types, however they can be gathered into two main classifications.

1) Slow Zeybek
2) Yörük Zeybek (Fast Zeybek)

In Izmir Zeybek Dances that are to be danced whether single or with a group, display the Efe's and Zeybek's self-assurances, mainly braveness and their challenges. The Zeybek's who show braveness and honestly with all their excitement are a symbol of dignity and valor.

Some of the Zeybek dances of Izmir and its surroundings are stated below: Arpazli, Harmandali, Kordon, Bergama, Dagli, Kasikçi Koca Arap, Elifoglu, Iki parmak, Sogukkuyu , Süslü, Jandarma, Yunt daglari, Bakirli, Kasnak, Hantuman, Bas bas, Sabahin Seher Vakti, Ötme Bülbülüm, Yagdi yagmur, Çakici, Ince Mehmet, Karsilama, Kozak, Somali, Yandir, Yörük Ali, Minarede Ezan Var, Sümbül Bahçesinde Karanfili, Kemeralti Zeybekleri.

Turkish Folk Dances
Turkish Folk Dances
Turkish Folk Dances
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