Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | June 15, 2010

molly’s cafe: superstitions

i have been here for a long time, and this morning, as usual, i performed a certain superstition and decided to write about some of the things people do here.

what a beard! bereket versin

the first money of the day that a person earns gets this treatment:  the paper bill (i haven’t seen anyone do it with coins) is brushed across the chin where a beard would be.  turks say “bereket versin”, which means, give you plenty (presumably allah would give it).  i always forget to say it, but i do brush my nonexistent beard.  someone recently told me that i should also throw the money on the ground and stamp on it, but i don’t do that either.

knock on wood kiss kiss

turks are often surprised to learn that we knock on wood.  they do it a little differently– a person tugs on his or her earlobe, makes a kiss sound, and then knocks three times on wood.  if there is no wood, i knock on my head– same diff!

come back soon

i have not seen this, but when a visitor leaves, the family throws a bucket of water after him or her.  that means that the person will swiftly return.  i should do it for my customers…


everywhere in turkey you see the nazar.  that is a kind of eye that repels the evil eye.  people pin a little one on the back of their babies’ clothing.  people love and admire babies, but if someone admires a baby, people say “mashallah”, which also repels the evil eye.  this is true any time someone admires something like a new car or a new shirt.

so, here are a few superstitions from turkey.  when you come, i will brush my beard, say mashallah over my nazar and throw water after you when you leave!  knock wood…



  1. Cute. I also knock on wood three times. What is it about the number three? To do with the Christian trinity? And why isn’t Mother Mary involved in that? Are we missing a number here? Dimensions? Dementia? Molly’s blog on her life and times in Istanbul generates lots of tilted thoughts and comments.

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