Cultural, Traditional, Artistic and Social Life of North Cyprus
Communal life of North Cyprus is a lot colorful as its social values, traditions, customs and natural beauties vary extensively in a rich cultural context. Family relations and social events such as weddings, bayrams, circumcising ceremonies are very important events in the community as the families gather together on such days. Sense of social solidarity is also very high. Turkish Cypriots are well-known for their traditional characteristics such as hospitality and this is known very well throughout the world.
Refreshing cherries and lemonades freshly made of citrus products such as lemon and mandarin oranges are offered to guests at the balconies, in the gardens or in patios of houses in hot days of summers. House made desserts, most made of fruits and of walnut, are the most popular kind of foods to be offered to guests. The serving of such delicious deserts to guests requires a special ceremony of serving. The walnut desert is the most preferred one of all deserts as it is a unique symbol of Turkish Cypriot deserts. It is traditionally offered in a small bowl with small forks and with a cup of water.
Home made desserts and jams made of walnut, water melon, bergamot, fig, pumpkin, quince, orange, date, grape, strawberry, thorn apple, apple, plum and pear, and molasses made of carob and grapes are delicious traditional desserts that can be found at every home to be offered to guests.
The food culture of Cyprus is a reflection of cultures and civilizations that lived on the island throughout the centuries. Cypriots generated a distinctive food culture over the centuries and today this is an inseperable part of life in Cyprus. Meals are cooked and served in a distinctive way which almost looks like a ritual. Some meals like Mulihiya, which is a national food rather than a traditional food, can only be tasted in Cyprus. The plant of Mulihiya is selected with a great care and dried or fresh leaves of this plant are used to make a delicious meal with meat. Also, kebabs and bakery products of Cyprus that are cooked in stone ovens are very famous, and there is a stone oven in the gardens of almost all houses with a garden. People usually go to the restaurants with a stone garden to taste those unique meals, kebabs, fish and bakery products that are cooked in the stone ovens. Also, some deserts that are traditionally cooked in these ovens are of extraordinary taste and can only be tasted in Cyprus. Apart from these, there are high quality Italian, French, Chinese and Indian restaurants holding ISO 22000 quality certificate in almost all cities and towns of Cyprus.
Handicrafts is a well-developed sector in North Cyprus. In some villages like Lefkara, grandmothers teach their grandsons the traditional methods of making various types of handicrafts. Lefkara village is famous for its handicrafts, especially for its unprecedented needleworks and embroideries. In previous years, such embroideries and needleworks were produced for needs and use of public, however, in the following years these objects attracted attention of tourists and started to be produced for touristic purposes. They are sold either on their own or in frames made of glass and wood that can be hanged on the walls for decoration purposes. Their patterns are usually generated from flowers, leaves and other sort of images.
Other well-known traditional products are baskets and flattish wicker baskets that are made of nutgrass and of roots of some plants. These products are still in use at houses and they are also sold to tourists.
The amazing handicraft boxes made of cypress wood are unique samples of culture of Cyprus. Each of them is a work of art and artists’ skillful hands decorate them with various patterns of nature such as flowers, birds, geometrical shapes, and so on. They are of various sizes and shapes.
Folk Dances, Sports Facilities and Festivals
Another cultural event of Turkish Cypriots is their devotion to folk dances. The event of traditional folk dances is the most popular traditional dance form of Turkish Cypriot community. Both young boys and girls take place in these dances with their traditional, colorful clothes that are made by hand with great care, and perform their regional form of dances. Each region has its own unique dance patterns and sometimes these patterns are blended and a unique form of traditional dance is created. The traditional dance teams of Turkish Cypriots obtained many international awards in international competitions.
Several festivals are organized throughout North Cyprus during the year and in these festivals, traditional meals and handicrafts are introduced and sold, folk dances, theaters and concerts and music shows are performed. Festivals are considered to be most colorful events of North Cyprus.
Sport facilities such as football, swimming, diving, riding, tracking are very popular sports of North Cyprus. There are several teams, clubs and societies dealing with these sports and everybody can join these facilities.