Folk Dances

North Cyprus Folklore

The Turkish Cypriot people do their folk-dances at the ceremonious occassions such as marriages, kina nights, harvest days, etc. These dances are generally played in the following sequence : meeting dances, henkerchief dances, zeybek dance, women dances, dramatic dances, and butcher dances. Meeting dances are made up of women and men meetings. The women's dances are generally slower in tempo.

Cyprus has been subjected to several civilizations throughout its history. Cyprus Turkish folk dances does not show a single character. Many folk dances bearing several local characteristics of Turkey as well as local characteristics are known. The Turkish Cypriot folk dances is having its characteristics with rather colorful costumes which shows similarities with the costumes worn in Anatolia. Karsilama, sword and sickle, the harvest time, spoon dance and Cyprus bride is the most common folk dance in TRNC. The folk groups usually have performances during the national festival days, weddings, hotels or tourism areas. Also contests are held regularly every year.

If the cultural traditions and customs are of interest to you, we strongly recommend that you attend a folk dancing performance during your stay here in North Cyprus. Folk dancing is one way of gaining a deeper understanding of the Turkish Cypriot life both past and present.


Folk Dancing Music

Another important part of folk dancing is the accompanying music. The instruments used here in Cyprus are the davul (a large drum beaten with a stick), the zurna (a reed instrument), the darbuka (a small drum played with both hands) and the fiddle. They provide the basic framework of the music to which the lute, accordion, tambourine, and the mandolin add sophistication.

Folk Dancing Costumes

Female Costumes


Headdress There are two types of head dress women use. The first one is the colourful and richly embroidered scarf that is tied around the head. These scarves can be of any color other than black and very dark tones. Among the most popular colors are white, red, pink, violet, yellow, green and light blue.
Alternative headdress The other headdress consists of a fez covered with an embroidered scarf or a colourful transparent scarf. Typically the bottom part of the fez is decorated with gold coins. The front part of the fez that is decorated as such is called `mahmudiye`.
Vest/Jacket The vests are usually made of velvet, satin or other shiny material. They could be long sleeved, half-sleeved or without sleeves. Usually vests / jackets are red or violet and their front, back and sleeves are embroidered with gold thread.
Dress The dresses that are usually made of common coton cloth with small flowers, were used as daily attire for women in the past before they became part of the costumes. The bottom part of the skirt, which extends below the knees, has an extra layer. Through these dresses could be in a variety of colours, blue, red and pink are the most popular.
etek It is made of bright coloured and pinstripped material. The bottom and the split sides of the skirt, the bottom of the sleeves and the tops of the shoulders are embroidered. This dress which has long slits in the sides and is open in front, is called ��etek due to its three-piece appearence.
Lacy long-johns These plain white long-johns are made from cotton with 2 rows of laced trimmings.
Handkerchief Usually white, although occasionally seen in bright colours, the handkerchief, made from a thin piece of white cotton, is square-shaped with lace patterns around the edges. The centres of the handkerchiefs are generally plain.
Cloth belt Worn around the waist, this accessory has flower motifs at either end. It is made of a shiny material and the ends hang down over the left thigh of the dancer.
Shoes The shoes are low-cut, the uppers of which are made of leather. They are most commonly worn in saffron yellow with a rose motif embrossed on them.
Jewellery and makeup 2 or 3 gold necklaces are worn around the neck. Red lipstick on lips and rouge on the cheecks standart. Occasiionally a beauty spot is drawn near the mouth.

Male Costumes


Fez This traditional headwear is made from thick-cut cloth. Boundy by a lace headscarf, the actual hat is claret red.
Waistcoat This blue fronted and red backed garment is made from thick cloth. The front part is woven with cotton or silk cord while the back is embroidered with bird or flower designs.
Shirt These are either plain white, or white with coloured stripes. The district collars, rather than folding down, stick straight up.
Knee-length tousers These are made of plain black material. In the past these were the everyday clothing of Cypriot men and also worn in white.
Cloth belt Made from red cloth, they are worn around the waist.
Socks The most common colours are white, bright blue and yellow. Often they are decorated with bird, carnation or tulip motifs.
Shoes These are generally black or brown and unlaced.
Broad-topped boots These are made from goatskin and are pointed at the toe.
Pocket watch Attached to a gold or silver chain which descends from the neckof the wearer, the watch is either tucked under the cloth belt or kept in the waistcoat pocket.
Handkerchief The white hankerchief is tucked into the cloth belt in such   a way that it is seen fromj the front.