Some foods and beverages, peculiar to special days and which have a symbolic meaning although they take much more time to prepare, are part of Turkish cuisine.
Food peculiar to such special days is prepared communally, known as called “imece.”
At engagement, wedding and circumcision ceremonies, at Ramadan with its deep religious meaning and other religious and seasonal festivals, food is prepared with more attention, more special assortments are served, and tables are specially decorated. Birth, death and wedding meals can be cited as examples:
Friends, relatives and neighbours visit women who have given birth, and bring soup, milk, yogurt and eggs. During “loğusa” (women recovering from childbirth) time, guests are served loğusa sherbet (a non-alcoholic drink made with spices and fruit juices), biscuits, milk and desserts. It is believed that a woman who has given birth must have milk, onion, sherbet, wheat and lentils and must not eat garbanzo or beans nor drink cold water if she wants to have sufficient milk to feed her child.
At weddings, rice, vegetables, beans or garbanzo and fruit juices are served with a main course of meat. In nearly every region, vermicelli and yogurt soups, keskek (pounded wheat with meat), rice and meat are served at wedding meals. Desserts are usually helva, zerde (a gelatinous dessert colored with saffron), rice pudding and baklava.
In addition to these, some other foods are served in the funerals. In some regions, food called “kazma takirtisi” (pickax clatters) is served to the people who prepare the grave. In the funeral house, food is not cooked for 3-7 days (depending on the region), and neighbors bring food instead. The tradition of cooking flour helva when the body is taken from the house and serving food on the 3rd, 7th, 40th and 52nd days after death still continues.