What is The Meaning of The Turkish Wedding Dance?

Offley Place

Offley Place

Dancing is a huge part of weddings, and for Turks, getting down to the ‘Halay’ is perhaps the most common method of boogying when the big day arrives. 

Ever heard of the Halay dance? Thought not! Which is precisely why we’re explored its origins and explained why this continues to shape modern Turkish wedding days.

What is The Halay Dance?

This happens to be the national dance of Turkey, so a pretty big deal, and for newlyweds patriotic towards their nation, it’s a bit of a no brainer to get this locked into the schedule. 

Part of the folk dance category, the Halay is performed mainly by Turks, Arabs and Kurds in Turkey, well, if they’re into the whole culture and tradition thing. 

During the dance, expect to hear glorious sounds made by the Zurna and Davul, the former being a woodwind instrument very similar to an oboe, and the latter is basically a giant set of double-headed drums.

What Does Halay Mean?

Steep history makes for fascinating reading, but this same breadth makes a lot of things hard to solve. 

Right, so the word ‘Halay’ is used in various ways by lots of different people, but in most cases, the word is derived from the Iranian term, conveniently spelt the same, which basically means to stand, jump and dance. 

There’s lots of theories around meaning, but let’s be honest, any term which encourages you to make typical dance movements would suggest this may be the right answer.

Where Did Halay Originate?

Turkey may have claimed the Halay as their own, but try telling that to Assyrians, Kurds, Greeks and Armenians. 

The fact is, no one really knows who actually gave birth to this dance, so let’s just all be friends and enjoy the groove together!

Not a fan of diplomacy! Well if you insist on having a clear winner, you’d need to investigate the heritage of each nation to see who got there first. 

Better start soonish! Iran and Greece have over 3,000 years’ worth of history to their name.

How Do You Perform The Halay Dance?

You’ve had your little history lesson into the Halay! Now it’s time to get on the dancefloor and celebrate the glory of Turkish culture. 

Firstly, there’s different forms, all which have been crafted in various parts of Turkey,  but in every case, both men and women are invited to hold each other’s hands or shoulders before forming a circle. 

You then need a leader, and yes, it would be preferable if they’ve done this before. As the role name suggests, they do indeed lead the dance, which mainly involves coordinating steps and directing people. 

Other notable dancers are the first and last, who hold handkerchiefs and wave these around during the routine, very similar to that of some traditional Greek wedding dance routines. 

Starting very slowly, the Halay will gradually up its tempo, so be prepared for ferocious dance moves in next to no time. 

Ready To Get Married Turkish Style?

Our glorious Country House in Hertfordshire is one of the best places to get married. We plan and execute every single detail to ensure you get the wedding ceremony of your dreams. 

Ready to get started? Drop us a message today.


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