• The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans
  • The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans
  • The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans
  • The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans
  • The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans
  • The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans
  • The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans
  • The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans
  • The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans
  • The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans

Until the years when the Ottomans came to the stage of history, Turks preserved themselves as families, dynasties, tribes and provinces. The customs, traditions, customs and traditions that hold the Turkish nation together have been the main source of unity and solidarity as in other nations.

The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans
Mehmet ISIK
The ceremonies practiced in the Ottoman Empire contributed greatly to social cohesion and integration. Although some of the ceremonies are used as a propaganda tool for both domestic and foreign policy, their number is small. Ceremonies contributed greatly to the people's living in unity and solidarity with a sense of brotherhood, and even in the most depressed times, great fragmentation did not occur in the Ottoman society.
It has been important in terms of the construction of societies that individuals come together in line with common feelings, thoughts and purposes. Since the first stages of history, the increase in social and cultural needs and the binding feature of economic interests on human relations have led to the formation of societies. 
Until the years when the Ottomans came to the stage of history, Turks preserved themselves as families, dynasties, tribes and provinces. The customs, traditions, customs and traditions that hold the Turkish nation together have been the main source of unity and solidarity as in other nations. 
When people pursuing the same ideals, large families and lineages unite on a common ground, blood ties, national and spiritual feelings, as well as the ceremonies that strengthen these ties and serve as a reminder of brotherhood and friendship when appropriate, have contributed to social cohesion and integration to a great extent. In fact, if we go a little further, ceremonies served as a locomotive in maintaining the existence of the social structure and political formation that was created by giving great struggles.
From the foundation period of the Ottoman Empire, keeping the national and moral values ​​alive and keeping them alive has been one of the most important duties of those who administer the state. State administrators saw this duty as an inevitable condition for the coexistence of the society and the survival of the political organization, and acted accordingly. The Ottomans clung to both the ancient Turkish tradition and the loftiness of the religion of Islam. The Ottoman administrators, who presented the Turkish customs and traditions and the requirements of the Islamic belief to the public in a pot, paid due attention to the festivities and ceremonies that would keep the people in unity and integrity.
Considerable work has been done on ceremonies in the Ottoman Empire. The ambassadors sent by foreign states also examined these ceremonies, which are one of the main pillars of the society, on the spot and reported their observations to their countries by translating them. Therefore, these ceremonies, which show the colorful face of the Ottoman society, were followed with interest by both local enthusiasts and foreigners. Especially the value given to the ceremonies by the dynasty and the rules of attendance, which are fixed by law during the ceremonies, have been the focus of attention of researchers. 
On the basis of this interest, of course, is the palace, which was the center of the Ottoman dynasty, which ruled for six centuries. Most of the studies on life inside the palace and the ceremonies held in the palace did not pay attention to the world outside the palace. 
A comprehensive study has not been conducted on how the Ottoman palace was perceived by the public and what the ceremonies supported by the sultan himself meant for the survival of the Ottoman Empire. In other words; Did the Ottoman sultans and state officials place their hopes in the ceremonies in order to ensure social cohesion and integration in the difficult times of the state? Were the festivities, banquets, lavish weddings, mourning funerals, and ostentatious culus ceremonies done because it was customary, or was it intended to embrace the people and the palace? 
Is the purpose of the Ottoman sultan, who goes to the Friday greetings, to hear the cries of "Long live my sultan" or to present to the public that the Islamic caliph is a unifying leader? Is the justification of the rules of attendance applied in the reception of foreign ambassadors just to give the incoming ambassador the image that the Ottoman Empire is maintaining its power, or is it to gain a sense of trust to the public? What effects did the ceremonies have on ensuring unity and solidarity in the social structure and arousing the feeling of friendship and brotherhood? The answers to many questions like these can only be found by examining the ceremonies in detail.
The aim of this study is to reveal the contribution of the ceremonies held in the Ottoman Empire to the cohesion and integration of the society through a few case studies. In the first part of our study, we will start with a brief evaluation on whether the ceremonies are used as propaganda purposes or not. In the second part, we will focus on the examples of ceremonies made in terms of their contribution to social cohesion and integration in the Ottoman Empire. Of course, this article, which we have written due to the breadth of the subject, will not be able to answer all the questions we have asked above. However, we believe that it will contribute to researchers as it is a starting point for future studies in this field. 
The Use of Ceremonies for Propaganda in the Ottoman Empire
Studies have been made on the importance of influencing people in the states that have existed in history, as it is today, and myths, epics and legends created on the national and spiritual values ​​of societies have been told. In fact, efforts were made to build nations through tales and stories derived from time to time. In some cases, ceremonies were held to keep common values ​​alive. Festivals, weddings, religious rites and traditions and customs have allowed people to live in a social structure. 
States have been in an effort to show that they are superior to other nations by using the means at their disposal in order to expand their areas of dominance. The gifts sent during the embassy activities and the pompous welcome ceremonies they performed at the embassy reception were purely for propaganda purposes. In the periods when the states were strong, they did not need propaganda much. 
They became aware that their military strength had achieved a sufficiently large psychological advantage. However, in periods when there were equal forces or when one side was weaker, they had ostentatious ceremonies, ostentatious embassy receptions, and legendary weddings in order to compensate for this weakness of the weaker side. In times of war, when epidemics spread, and during economic crises, opinion leaders were appointed to keep the morale of the people high, and ceremonies were brought to the agenda more often.
It was seen that one of the purposes of the ceremonies held periodically in the Ottoman Empire was propaganda. Propaganda or ostentatious ceremonies have been held, especially in order to shape the stories that foreign ambassadors will tell on their return, or when captured soldiers return about the Turkish army. For example, when Mehmet the Conqueror returned to Edirne to make people forget his Belgrade defeat, he had his sons Beyazıt and Mustafa circumcised, and a great feast was organized for this occasion.  
After the failure of Vienna, Suleiman the Magnificent wanted to ensure the confidence of the army and to make the defeat forgotten inside and outside with the magnificent circumcision wedding he organized for his four sons on June 27, 1530. Again, Sultan II. Although the desired success was not achieved in the Hotin Expedition during the Osman period, the organization of entertainments after the return to the throne, giving place to ostentatious ceremonies and printing the victories can be considered as propaganda activities aimed at preventing the unrest that may occur in the public.
The ceremonial rules applied in the reception of foreign ambassadors were applied separately according to friendly and enemy countries. In the majority of the ceremonies performed in the reception of foreign ambassadors to the grand vizier and later to the sultan, it had the purpose of propaganda. The ambassadors and their men were given feasts and dressed in hil'ats. Envoys were admitted to the presence with a large attendance team and in accordance with the rules of attendance. If the ambassadors came from enemy countries, they were despised and sometimes imprisoned in the Yedikule dungeons. Those who did not comply with the rules of the order were punished with beatings when necessary. In general, a show of superiority was made before the ambassadors and an attempt was made to show the enemy that the state was strong.  
As such examples can be multiplied, it would be wrong to say that every ceremony has a propaganda purpose. 
In the ceremonies held in the Ottoman Empire, it was aimed to merge and integrate the people and the palace. Notable statesmen attended the ceremonies held in the harem with their families. The public did not have the opportunity to attend the ceremonies held here. However, great entertainments with the participation of the public were organized by the sultans. It was seen that the doors of the country's finances were opened and the expense was not avoided in these entertainments attended by the public. These expenditures showed that the state did not only pursue propaganda purposes, on the contrary, they benefited from ceremonies as steps that would raise the morale of the people and reinforce unity and solidarity. When the ceremonies held in the Ottoman Empire are looked at, it is seen that most of the activities are aimed at social cohesion and integration.
The Contribution of Ceremonies to Social Cohesion and Cohesion and Integration in the Ottomans in the Ottomans
Among the ceremonies observed in the Ottoman Empire: Birth, circumcision, wedding, culus, funeral, wearing a sword, accepting the ambassador, feasting, blessed nights, Surre-i Hümayun, Cardigan-i Saadet visit, Mevlid, Friday prayer (Friday Selamlık), expedition. Exit, Bed-i Basmele, launching of the navy and Divan-ı Hümayun Meeting can be given as examples. It has been seen that some of these ceremonies are in front of the public and some of them are based on the participation of state officials.
It has been seen that the distribution of gifts to the tradesmen and the public in the ceremonies held in front of the public and celebrated with festivities was made to overcome the difficulties, especially in difficult times. Situations such as overcoming difficult times and intensifying economic problems due to defeats have led to pessimism and unhappiness among the people. 
In the passage through these bottlenecks, the emphasis was placed on ceremonies that would bring to light the national and spiritual values ​​necessary for ensuring social cohesion and integrity and keeping citizenship awareness alive. These ceremonies showed themselves in every period of the Ottoman Empire. “On January 2, 1642, the son of Sultan İbrahim IV. Mehmet was born, and on June 15, his son, named Süleyman, was born. However, although the birth was on an auspicious day like Thursday, the earthquake and the fire that broke out before that and blew up the gunpowder shop did not get better. As a matter of fact, when the prince's father, İbrahim, ascended to the throne, earthquakes and fires occurred, a comet was seen, and ashes fell. 
Here, in order to make them forget their bad impressions, a flamboyant festival was organized for the birth of Prince Mehmet for three days and three nights.” It was seen that these festivities, which were held during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim, were a movement to remove the pessimistic atmosphere on the people. He not only established his reign on a legitimate basis, but also made a separate effort to raise the morale of the people. Care was taken to ensure that the relatives of those imprisoned due to the riots and crimes in the Ottoman society would not be offended by the state. Thus, the forgiveness of those who do not have serious crimes on special days, holidays, Ramadan and holy nights set good examples for social cohesion and integration. When Naima Sultan, the daughter of Sultan Abdülmecit, was born, a festival was held for a week, meanwhile the convicted prisoners were released. 
Holidays held an important place in Ottoman society. The notables of the state, especially the sultan, would attend the festive ceremonies and present each other gifts according to their positions. The people used to celebrate with each other during the holidays, go out to the streets as the climate allowed, and hug each other in a warm environment. Eid ceremonies were important for the cohesion and integration of the society. The German traveler Gerlach narrated the following statement about the feast ceremony in the Ottomans in his work: “The Turkish ruler started the feast. Bayram is the most joyful celebration day of the Turks. 
Everyone puts on their most beautiful dress and walks around in this elaborate dress for three days. Four high pillars are erected in all the squares and wide streets and adorned with laurels, olives and other green branches. A beautiful tent is covered over it. Oranges, pomegranates, donuts, bagels and other food are hung underneath it. Two people swing the person sitting on the swing. 
The swinging person accelerates and tries to catch one of the fruit and donuts hanging overhead with his hands or feet. At the same time, drums and zurnas are played. The wandering vendors offer fragrances in small bottles and spray passers-by in their face, asking them for money. Swingers also pay one coin for each push. Thus, a person who works at the festival earns a lot of money. Some of them sit on a big wheel that looks like a mill wheel and someone turns this wheel. Sometimes they go up the hills, sometimes they go down. Various entertainments are organized during these three festive days. All the streets are filled with people.” 
Memoirs of another German traveler, Dernschwam, beautifully describe the activities of the Ottoman sultans to integrate with the public during the holidays. The German traveler expresses this event with the following words; “During the big holidays, the sultan had meals prepared in the squares and had cattle slaughtered. Then live wolves, rabbits, foxes, dogs and birds are released into the square. And the people are scrambling to fight them. It makes a fun noise.” These festive events, narrated by German travelers, are good examples that strengthen the unity and solidarity of the people. 
On some festivals, the sultans organized great public festivities. It is seen that festivities are held especially during Ramadan Feast. It is seen that some festivals were held in the mansions of the pashas. Even if there is no festival, the establishment of the place of the feast, the playing of various actors in the cafes and on the streets, and the feasts have become the natural entertainment of the people. The wide meadows of the recreation areas in various districts of Istanbul are filled with performances of actors, jugglers, acrobats and people with various skills.  
The contributions of the Ottoman sultans to the festive ceremonies increase the loyalty of the people to the sultan, so it is seen that the political and social unity is tried to be kept fit. 
The loyalty of the people to the sultan and the state was not only based on material relations. The fact that the sultan had the title of caliph increased his value in the eyes of the people in terms of religion. Festivals were held in the palace and on the throne, and gifts were distributed on blessed nights, festivities, sending Surre-i Hümayun, visiting the Cardigan-i Saadet, Mevlid ceremonies and Friday prayers (Friday Selamlık). In particular, aid was given secretly to poor households. Sultans used to do good deeds as the leader and caliph of the Islamic world these days. 
Religious days were celebrated with lively ceremonies in the palace. With Ramadan, the religious atmosphere in the palace intensified. All the people of the palace fasted, those who could read used to download hatim. Iftar invitations were held mutually, and after the tarawih until the sahur, the evening was tried to be sweet with entertainment and conversations in the apartments. The visit of all the people of the palace in the cardigan on the fifteenth of Ramadan, the power procession held at the night of the twenty-seventh, the ceremonies and feasts held on the occasion of Ramadan and Sacrifice Feasts would cause a different atmosphere to blow in the palace.  
Hz. The 12th day of the Hijri month of Rebiül-Awwal, which is considered the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, was one of the important days celebrated with an official ceremony in the Ottoman Empire. The custom of having some naats, munacats and odes recited on this night had been practiced in Islamic countries for a long time. This custom, which existed even during the reign of Osman Gazi, was adopted by Sultan II. It was given an official shape by making some additions by Selim and Sultan Ahmet I. 
While reciting the Mevlid-i sheriff was reserved for the presence of the sultan on the night of the birth of the prophet, after the spread of the mawlid tractate of the famous Süleyman Çelebi, who lived in the time of Orhan Gazi, it has always been a custom to recite it day and night in mosques, masjids and houses. Mevlid for the first time, III. Since the reign of Murad II, he took part in the official ceremony of the Ottoman Empire and gained an increasing popularity in the eyes of the public. 
In the Ottoman Empire, the people, especially the palace, gave great importance to the celebration of religious days and ceremonies. Religious ceremonies, which are very important in terms of social cohesion and integration, strengthened the bond of brotherhood in Ottoman society. Observing the pleasure of Allah in these ceremonies was one of the main obstacles to carrying out an aim such as making propaganda. The value given to sincerity in worship was seen as more important than any kind of benefit.
 The number of examples told by German travelers about funeral ceremonies, circumcision weddings and marriage is quite high. Weddings, festivities and magnificent ceremonies held in Ottoman palaces, pasha mansions, Turkish neighborhoods and villages became their area of ​​interest and they did not fail to tell them in their memoirs over and over. 
In the Ottoman Empire, the enthronement of the sultans took place with a special ceremony called the cülus ceremony. The Sultan's accession to the throne would first take place in front of the state officials and various gifts were distributed after the allegiance ceremony. With the sword-wielding ceremony held in Eyüp Mosque, the new sultan's loftiness would increase. The ceremony would end with the ruler praying in the Eyüp Sultan tomb after the sword-wielding ceremony. After the ceremonies, the culus tip was distributed.  
Thus, the loyalty of the state officials, especially the janissaries, to the new sultan was registered, and then coins were minted in Istanbul and various parts of the country. Entertainments were organized in Istanbul and in various parts of the country, and gifts were distributed. 
Sultan II. After his accession to the throne, Murat had the state elders, the people, the soldiers distributed the tips and kissed the skirt. The culus tip, which became a tradition after this practice, continued to be practiced in later periods after the magnificent allegiance ceremonies. This tradition, which is a valuable practice in terms of the recognition of the political authority of the sultan and the legitimacy of his position, was seen as an opportunity by some interest groups during the economic depressions of the country and became one of the main reasons for the actions against the sultans. However, it has an important ceremonial feature in terms of commitment to the political establishment.
While the enthronement ceremony meant the enthronement of the new ruler, it also carried the feature of a ceremony that announced the death of the old sultan for long periods. Although the enthronement of the Ottoman sultans was welcomed by the people with joy, it was also a source of sadness because it meant the death of the former ruler. When the death of the sultan occurred, the process of washing and shrouding the corpse was started with a special ceremony in the palace. It was announced to the public with salas read in mosques. In this case, the people would be sad and wear their mourning clothes. The sultan who ascended the throne, the officials in the harem and the nature of the deceased sultan would also attend the ceremony by wearing mourning dresses. 
Mehmet the Conqueror mourned at his father's funeral with a black dress and turban. II. When Bayezid's funeral came to Istanbul, Yavuz Sultan Selim and the state officials had wrapped their heads in black. II. Selim, while welcoming his father's funeral, wore a black broadcloth and wrapped it with a shawl. III. As a sign of mourning, Murat dressed in black with state officials and wrapped a black turban. III. When Mehmet became the ruler instead of his father, he wore a mourning dress with a black sham. At the death of Murat IV, Ibrahim was wrapped in a black shawl and other statesmen wore black. Dark-coloured caftans were also worn. The turban, which belongs to the deceased, placed at the head of the coffin, was used as a Turkish custom in the funeral ceremonies. He had been seen since Bayezid's funeral. They held ceremonies in the public alongside the new sultan and state officials who participated in the funeral ceremony of the sultan. They attended the ceremony with their mourning clothes and acted in a common feeling.
 After the death of Suleiman the Magnificent during the Zigetvar campaign, it was seen that the people greeted him with mourning clothes when his funeral was brought to Belgrade. “…The joyful march of a victorious army, with only four distances to Belgrade, turned into a funeral procession. It was located just outside the city. Kanuni's tent went ahead and was set up for the new sultan's entourage. The next day, the funeral procession set out to enter the city. All the dignitaries wore mourning dresses and the umbrellas were wrapped. 
Left-handed and peyk took off their crests and wrapped futas over their burritos, sergeants and çaşnigirs and other landlords were wrapped in black, the mute ones wore sackcloth. Everyone was crying and wailing. Likewise, the people of Belgrade, dressed in sackcloth as a mourning dress, crossed the bridge and greeted the funeral. The cover of the car was opened and inside, the coffin and the tufted armor on it were visible. … After the prayer II. Selim returned to his tent by saluting the people on both sides. The people, on the other hand, raised their hands and prayed for mercy to Sultan Suleiman, and then to Selim Khan by saying, "Blessed be the throne and caliphate to our Sultan." 
The wedding of the princes and sultans was held with legendary ceremonies in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman sultan allocated funds from the treasury for a wedding ceremony worthy of the dynasty. Promising chiefs and viziers of the state would marry the sultan's sisters or daughters. The custom of asking for a girl was not uncommon in the palace. 
With the order of the sultan, the groom candidate was informed and the wedding preparations were started. The preparation of the dowry of the sultans, engagement ceremonies and wedding ceremonies were meticulously prepared and applied. Weddings would begin with great festivities attended by the public. The bride's dowry was prepared long in advance. After the engagement, the deficiencies were completed. Entertainment was held in the harem every day. Various games were played, instruments were played. 
Festivals were held in the city. If the wedding was a favorite sultan, the festivities would last for several days. During the wedding, the palace garden and the mansions of the dignitaries were illuminated with colorful oil lamps, lanterns and lanterns. Torches were also lit in places. During the festivities, flags and colorful fabrics decorated with precious stones were hung in various places. Sometimes, arches were set up, and fabrics, carpets, and chandeliers were placed on them, attracting the public's attention. Colorful firecrackers were fired at night. Sometimes firecrackers were attached to the tails of bears, dogs and cows, and they were released after firing. 
At the sultan's weddings, care was taken for the public to participate in the entertainment. The money spent on festivities and weddings held in the flood of love of the people contributed greatly to the revival of the capital's economy. The entertainments sometimes continued for weeks on the streets of Istanbul. Illuminated entertainment is one of the most popular entertainments of the people. However, the most eye-catching thing among the light entertainments was the drawing made by the cebe makers. They would do the same with the puller and put wheels under it. They placed cannons and rifles in it. While walking on the streets, cannons and rifles were thrown from the hammer. The world would become a battlefield. Some of them were afraid of it, some of them could not get enough of watching it, they enjoyed it very much. 
The entertainments held at the weddings contributed to the morale of the people and to keep the sense of unity and togetherness alive. It was seen that the sultan distributed bags in the ceremonies held to ensure this unity. The greatness of the entertainments could be felt all over Istanbul. Attention was paid to every detail during the entertainment. Fire games were held on the sea. It would be a lot of fun to fire flares from specially made rafts. Sometimes the flares would go very high as if they were going to reach the stars, and then suddenly they would fall into the sea. In large areas, acrobats would entertain the people of Istanbul with various shows. 
Bottle-baggers, pumpers, those who played with hoops, those who showed skills with large and large stones, tried to win the applause of the people with various tricks. From time to time, drums and zurnas were played, wrestlers wrestled, bears and donkeys were played, roosters and goats were made to fight. The most terrifying of these was the struggle of wild animals with each other. People watched them with fear and excitement. In short, the sultan opens the mouth of the treasury at the sultan's weddings; He made money flow like water in the harem and in Istanbul. These ceremonies, these festivities and navies were the signs of his greatness, power and pomp. With this thought, Istanbul would be shaken for days in colorful lights, games, drinks and saz orgies, and she would pass out. 
The ceremonies applied in the Ottoman Empire contributed to the embrace of the public and the palace in good and bad times. The gifts distributed by the ascendant sultan to the public and the goods donated by the deceased sultans served the public good, making both the new sultan and the deceased sultan well remembered by the people. The observance of the people in the ceremonies and the organization of festivals for the people increased the loyalty to the state and the respect for the sultans. It has been observed that the money spent in these ceremonies brings heavy burdens to the country's economy and the state treasury. However, the motto "Let the people live so the society live, the society live, the state live" has continued its existence from the old Turkish states as a sacred tradition to the Ottoman Empire and from there to the present Turkish Republic. 
As a result, it has been seen that the ceremonies applied in the Ottoman Empire were carried out in accordance with a certain law and formality rules. It was understood that the majority of these ceremonies included the public. The Ottoman Empire was injured for propaganda purposes in order to prevent the negative effects of the negative effects of the ceremonies, especially in the reception of ambassadors and in the wars. Today, we can see that such approaches are exhibited in interstate relations. However, the Ottoman sultans and state officials did not perform the ceremonies with the desire to protect the survival of the state and to build a society living in peace and tranquility. 
Ceremonies were frequently used in order to remind the unifying aspects of the national and spiritual values ​​of societies with ceremonies, festivals and great ceremonies, and to strengthen the sense of brotherhood and friendship ties. In fact, the ceremonies that were held with the sultan's edict in the early periods were accepted by the people over time and even became a tradition. These ceremonies enabled the society to stay together even in the most difficult and troublesome times when the state was dealing with economic depressions, regression in domestic politics and failures in foreign policy. XIX. Even in the 19th century, the feeling of brotherhood showed itself throughout the country. The ceremonies that have been applied throughout history and have penetrated into the personality of the Ottoman society have made serious contributions to social cohesion and integration.
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