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I had the unique chance to attend and photograph a village wedding during a photo trip to West Anatolia, Turkey.
Remote countryside weddings have very special customs and old traditions. Anyone and everyone is invited. In fact, you just spread the word you're getting married, and expect visitors from neighbouring villages to flock. And, of course, the bigger the area is, the more crowded it gets.. There were over 300 guests participating in this ceremony.
Traditional village weddings take place in the groom's house or at the center of the village.
At this wedding, the groom's house and the neighbouring area was not big enough to welcome everyone. Since the women and men are supposed to gather and eat separately, the solution to the villagers seemed simple.
Men were to eat and hang out outside and the women and the children were to be indoors. Since the house was not big enough to accommodate all women, some of them found the solution in settling at the cellar of the house.
5-6 women sit on the floor in circles, while food is served in huge trays. Each tray has 5 different types of traditional food, cooked in huge boilers right outside the wedding house. Several women share the same plate.
Many women help out during the wedding, mostly with the cooking or doing dishes and it seemed amazing to me how everyone worked in such coordination.
Although these people saw me for the first time, they welcomed me as a close friend or even a family member. It was the most enjoyable wedding I have ever attended (or even imagined). Dining in a stuffy cellar didn't bother anyone, nor did doing the dishes or cutting hundreds of onions for the main dish. The atmosphere of happiness was very contagious.
Also by Basak Buyukcelen
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