THE WORLD OF ANNONA

 

  TURKISH BATHES (HAMAM)

 




     It is well known that there has been a long tradition of hamam (water culture) in Anatolia. "Turkish Hamams" have carried this tradition to today and made it famous around the World.

These hamams, offered to men and women in different shifts, has been available to the whole society. Special days of women were celebrated in these hamams with traditional rituals; "Bride's Bath Ceremony" performed the day before the wedding, "40th Day Bath", performed when the baby is 40 days old; "Mourner's Bath", performed 20 days after the death of a relative; "Vower's Bath", performed when a wish comes true; "Hospitality Bath", performed when a host introduces his or her guests to their relatives; and "Feast Bath", performed the day before the religious festivals, and many more ...

These hamams were also the beauty parlours of the times. They offered facial, hair and body care and treatment with plants and oils, where spirit and body rested and rejuvenated. Rough mitts made from cotton, silk and goat hair, were used to rub sweating bodies, scouring down the skin, and detoxifying with soaps. Mothers of young man would preview young girls at the hamams. Special banquets were prepared with best food and great care.

There were different tools used for man and woman, and they are preserved with utmost care, to display the richTurkish Hamam tradition. The special bowl used in these hamams were made in different sizes for men and women. They were made from copper, silver or brass, decorated with reliefs and inlays, used to pour water from marble basins.

Ladies carried special oval bags with handles, made from goat hair and silver with a strainer at the bottom, for their soaps, combs, purses and loofah. There were also metal safe boxes for valuables and wooden or silver mirrors and stylish bath clogs in the changing room. Made of wood and carved or inlaid with special patterns, these platform clogs were worn by Turkish woman to protect their feet from the wet floors, making special sounds. Large towels, striped or checked, with a mixture of cotton and silk, fringed at both ends, were used for drying the body by wrapping tightly around the torso. A clothing would be spread on the floor, to change clothing on the top.

Eating fruit, drinking juices and mineral water were traditions at the hamam. There would be parties with singers, and women would be dancing to the music. These traditions formed around hamam, as the integral part of social life, has been the subject of many movies, anonymous songs, novels, riddles and proverbs. When a beautiful women gets attention of the crowd, many would say, "May God keep evil eye away!". It was, and still is, believed that special blue and white beads, would keep evil eye, or bad spell, away. Usually these beads are hand-crafted out of from blown glass.

Turkish Hamam Architecture and Culture, that made its way to very recent history, is disappearing day by day. They are either being restored for other use, or being destroyed. I today's world, bathrooms at home made Hamams obsolute. Waste of water and operating costs are most important reasons for such decline.


 
 

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