LIFE IN NORTH CYPRUS
Social life in Northern Cyprus is very colourful with its traditions, conventions, customs and natural beauties
Such social activities like marriage ceremony, circumcision feast, festivities and gathering of family members for various purposes is very important. The social sense of solidarity is very high. One of the outstanding characteristics of the Turkish Cypriot community is to host the guests and this is just a reflection of the Turkish hospitality. The most senior and oldest guest is the most respected one and is hosted as the society deems it appropriate. The culture of serving coffee is very developed. You will be served coffee even when you enter an unfamiliar environment. Hospitality is the most apparent characteristic of daily life in Northern Cyprus.
Ice-cold sorbets which are made of seasoned citrus fruits like lemon and mandalin are treated to the guests in the hot summer days at the balcony, veranda or garden of homes. Pastes are also one of the main products served to the guests. Serving and presentation of pastes which are more beautiful and delicious than one another and prepared carefully requires a special ceremony. The paste which is the one most served to the guests is walnut paste. It is served in a small receptacles with small foxes and together with a glass of water. Main sorts of desserts which are always available in every home and offered to every guest are pastes of walnut, melon, bergamot, figs, quince, orange jam, paste of persimmon, grape jam, mayflower jam, bitter orange paste, strawberry jam, plum jam, pear composte, peach composte, molasse and apple composte. The dishes of Cyprus reflects a mozaic of cultures that has been formed by the influence of various cultures from the ancient times onward. Cyprians has succeeded in creating very original and delicious dishes. Cooking and presentation of a meal is very important for the Cyprians. This reflects a cultural characteristic of the region. For example “Mulihiya” has been the national meal of cyprians both with its form of preparation and presentation. Mulihiya plants are selected carefully and mulihiye dishes with pieces of meat or chicken are cooked either with fresh or dried mulihiye. Those who are familiar with Northern Cyprus know very well the palatal delight of the local people and the taste of the dishes of the region. You can only understand in Cyprus that potatoes can be so delicious. Besides oven kebap is one of the dished that are most treated. There is an oven in a corner of the garden of almost every home. Village bread, oven kebap and various pastries are cooked in this oven depending on its size. Besides, every restaurant in which oven kebap is served has an oven. Families come to these restaurants from far away just for tasting the flavour of the oven kebap.
The menu of the cyprian kitchen is made up of a rich variety of items like peach jebap, shish kebap, cube kebap, meat balls, oven kebap, meat and chicken rotary, mülhiya, chicken paste, gumbo, meat filling, spinach, eggplant and potato mousakka, dry beans, fresh beans, grills and kebaps, pastry products, varieties of fish, soups and especially tens of appetizers. Peach kebap is a very special and delicious kebap which the people like not because of the form of peach but because of its taste and softness. Appetizers and kebaps like humus, tzadzikii, tehina, brain salad, varieties of pickle,, potato salad, samarella, yogurt salad, pastrami, field beans, tongue salad, fried hellim cheese and black olive, calamary, celery pickle artichoke, cabbage, collandro match very good with local wines, fruit juices, brendy and rakı.
Desserts and especially crumpets in thick syrupi halvas and cakes may be served after the meal or outside the meal. Mushroom pastry, tatarian pastry, cookie, pastry with minced meat, pumpkin pastry and spinacy pastry are among the most delicious pastry products. There are many restaurants which offer local meals. Besides there are also various restaurants with 1SO 22000 certificate that offer Italian, French, Chinese and Indian dishes at world standards.
Grandmothers in the cyprian homes teach their children and grandchildren various handicrafts. The most important one is Lefkara. It derives its name from the village of Lefkara where it was first made. In the past years these handicaraft products which the people had made for their own use is now being produced as a touristic object just like in all other tourism centers.
Handicraft product made of sil cocoon, of which most beautiful example may be seen in Cyprus, is a valuable product that is made by cutting and processing the silk cocoon in various patterns.
It is generally presented in a glass frame. It is used as a wall ornament. It contains flower and leave patterns and various motives.
Original products like saddles and baskets are produced by making ince ribbons out of stags, leaves and branches of the grass, nutgrass and plants and processing them in various forms. These products, which are used in homes, also sold to the tourists as handicraft products and the producers gain an income from this trade.
Chests which include masterpieces of xylography are the most beautiful examples of handicraft products in Northern Cyprus. These chests are produced in various sizes and generally made of cypress tree. Skilled hands process various motives, flowers, birds, leaves and geometric patterns on the casex with the fineness of lacework.
Turkish Cypriots also attach a great importance to dolk dances
which are played by female and male dancers together in wedding ceremonies and various activities. Dancing costumes which are prepared according to the folcloric characteristics of the region turn into a visual feast after being ornamented with colours, patterns and handicraft items which are specific to Cyprus.. KKTC folk dance teams which participated in international folklore festivals has been awarded many rewards.
THEATER AND PERFORMING ARTS
Karagöz and Hacıvat is the most important example of the art of shadow pupperty that has been inherited from the period of Ottoman Empire. “İlk Sahne” (The First Stage), which was the first theater of the turkish cypriots has been founded in 1963. It took the name of State Theater in 1966. State Theater of the Turkish Cypriots brought various plays on the stage at
home and abroad. Plays performed by local and foreign theater groups are followed with great interest in Cyprus. Numerous local and foreign theater groups contribute to the cultural life of the island by performing various plays during the theater festival. Art activities in the island become the more intensified with the contribution of the social activities of multi-national students.
In Northern Cyprus, which is a calm and refreshing country of resort where you can spend your time with peace of mind, night life is very active especially in the discoteques, bars and night clubs which are especially concentrated in the coasts. One may have exquisite meals in accompany of live music in the restaurants where Turkish, Indian, Chinese, French and Italian dished are served. One may further experince cheerful evenings in a romantic atmosphere in the bars and restaurants that surround Kyrenia antique port. On the other hand, the casinos of the big hotels are open until morning. Excursion boats that depart from Kyrenia port in summer months are preferred because they offer music, meal and sea at the same time.
Folkroric music of the turkish cypriots has very developed characteristics of its own while it has also been influenced by the Anatolian folkloric music. There are many folk songs. turkish folk music groups and special musical groups contribute to the turkish folk music activities. There are many people who are interested in the classical turkish music because of the significant support that the state provides for that branch of music. There is a great demand for concerts of turkish art music which are organized in various times.
Turkish cypriots have begun dealing with the fine arts in the modern sense of the term in the middle of the 20th century. A rapid development has been recorded in the field of fine arts thanks to the modernized education system. Fine arts and artists of KKTC has taken their places in the platform of international fine arts. Many artists successfully carry out their activities in the international arena. Cyprian artists realize superior achievements in such field as art of painting, sculpture, ceramic, music, photography, poem, literature, caricature and film. The state provides encouragment for artists with various rewards awarded in various btanches.
Classical music: State senfony orchestra and choir has been founded in 1975. Senfony orchestra gives traditional concerts. Music festivals are organized in Cyprus in definite months of the year. Kyneria is very active in this regard. Bellapais monastery is a classical music platform and hosts many international artists. Popular music is the kind of music preferred by the youth.
Festivals are organized in definite days of the year in Güzelyurt, Girne, Gazimagusa, İskele and Lefkoşa. Local and foreign artists enliven these festivals.Various art activities and events are organized in the congress, conference and concert halls of beautiful touristic premises throughout the year.
Turkish cypriot people reflects its cultural and social heritage to the world through the media establishments. Publication of newspapers began in the middle of 19th century in the island. Besides printed media, radio and television broadcasting began in 1964 and 1975 respectively under the name “Bayrak Radio and Television”. There are many newspapers, magazines and private radios and television stations today. Some televisions introduce Northern Cyprus to the whole world through satellite. The island is quite active in terms of social activities. Its undersea wealth is the point of focus of local and foreign divers. These clean costs of Mediterranean has a rich undersea flora and fish species. The establishments which organize these divings offer means of diving either with or without tubes for different tastes and depths to be dived. A rich variety of water sports is available. There camping areas in all costs.
One of the most important activities of young people is carting. Car races, horse races and dog races also take place in definite days of the year. Golf courses, bowling hallsı, outdoor and indoor sports halls and swimming pools and minature sports fields in Lefke and Esentepe are at the disposal of those who want to make sports. Hunting is an important activity. During the hunting seasons, the hunters, topether with theiir hound dogs, hunt such game animals like partridges, rabbit and corvine in all the hunting grounds of the island. Game animals are grown in definite game animal centers for being left to the nature. Partridges living in the island may surprise you by confronting you on the high ways.