Superstition – Turkey

Superstition- Turkey

Never hand someone a bar of soap

Ahmet grew up in western Turkey and is 100% Turkish. He left Turkey in 8th grade to go to boarding school in the U.S., however, all of his family remains in Turkey and he goes back there every summer. He said he learned this superstition when he was young in Turkey, but he can’t remember the exact time he learned it. He figures he learned it from his maid. The rationale is that the soap is slippery, and if you try to hand someone slippery soap, it will fall. Then an argument will break out over who dropped the soap and whose fault it was (the person handing it or the person grabbing it) and it could break apart a friendship. Ahmet said that this superstition is used by/applies to everybody of all age groups and genders.

This is a very interesting superstition. It makes sense, as it is very hard to hand someone a slippery bar of soap and if it falls, an argument could ensue over whose fault it was that the soap fell. It is different from U.S. superstitions, or superstitions from the western culture, in that the results are immediate and tangible from this Turkish superstition. Many of the superstitions that exist in the western culture deal with bad luck and intangible outcomes. For example, if you see a black cat, it’s bad luck; or if you walk under a ladder, you will have bad luck. Bad luck is a very broad and general term, and the superstitions also don’t state the amount of time you will have bad luck for. With this Turkish superstition, the result of the superstition is very tangible and definite; there are no gray areas.

This might have to do with western (American) culture vs. eastern European culture. In America especially, and the Western world as a whole, fate plays a very big role in the culture and life. As a Christian nation, America puts many things in God’s hands. Religion aside, fate plays a huge role in books and Hollywood, which has influenced American culture greatly. The ‘Happily Ever After’ stories are based mainly on the fate that even though something bad has happened to the protagonist, he will get some luck and something will be right for him that he will have a happy ending. This relates to superstitions in that all the ‘bad luck’ superstitions leave it to fate to decide what happens, if the person will really have bad luck or not.

I’m not very well education in eastern European culture, but it is possible that they have a different way of viewing life and the world. The main religion in Turkey and Eastern Europe is Islam. It is possible that the Islamic people rely much more on physical and tangible events to determine the future, rather than ‘fate’. This superstition could be grounded in the fact that Turkish people are very down-to-earth, and understand life and reality for what they are. Hence, this superstition has a definite ending and a tangible result.