Ceremonial Keskek Tradition

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Turkish Keskek Tradition

Keskek ritual is a dish rite performed within the principles determined by the tradition based on the joint labor and sharing in mainly traditional wedding ceremonies, aids, charities and rain prayers.

Keskek

Keskek is a traditional Turkish ceremonial dish prepared for wedding ceremonies, circumcisions and religious holidays. Women and men work together to cook wheat and meat called keskek in large cauldrons over an open fire, then serve it to the guests.

The rituals shaped around the meal are called the Ceremonial Keskek Tradition. Keskek tradition encompasses entertainment, plays and musical performances. Neighbouring towns and villages are invited to feast collectively in the ceremony premises. The cooking tradition is safeguarded and transmitted by master cooks to apprentices.

There can be no wedding without keskek. The meaty stew of keskek is also an important part of Ramadan holidays in Turkey.

Social Practice of Solidarity

The wheat is washed with prayers the preceding day, and then carried to a large stone mortar, to the accompaniment of music from the drum and double reed pipe. At the mortar it is hulled by two to four persons using gavels in a fixed rhythm.

Cooking is usually carried out outdoors; hulled wheat, chunks of meat on the bone, onions, spices, water and oil are added to the cauldron and cooked all night. Towards noon, the strongest of the village youth are called to beat the keskek with wooden mallets, while the crowd cheers and double reed pipe players perform musical pieces, announcing the thickening of the stew with a specific melody.

Numerous expressions associated with the dish, used during the selection of wheat, the blessings, praying and carrying the wheat, as well as preparing and cooking it, have become common expressions in daily life.

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Turkish Ceremonial Keskek Tradition was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011.

UNESCO Identity Card:

  • Official Name: Ceremonial Keskek Tradition
  • Criteria: Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
  • Date of Inscription: 2011
Turkish Keskek Tradition
Turkish Ceremonial Dish