top of page

Village life/Köy hayatı

Village life.

Lurucina Türkish youth club.

Like the rest of the world the second world war effected many aspects of Cypriot life, despite the harsh conditions however young people began to organise cultural, sporting and other social activities. With the ever growing standards of education the desire to set up clubs took on a different meaning. Football matches in particular were very popular. The Lurucina youth sports club was set up in 1948 and became a focus point of sports activities for the younger generation of the period. This was supported by the whole village. In fact many teachers and community leaders often attended the club which was set up just opposite the village mosque at built by Veli usta who supported the initiative. The aftermath of matches often saw large gatherings. Soft drinks and Cypriot sweet cakes were very popular at such gatherings. This camaraderie often encouraged the youth to step up their energy in improving their standards. No doubt with limited finance or outside expertise the locals did the best they could under extremely hard circumstances.

Wedding customs.

Weddings were very popular events. The close knit community spirit was at its best and the whole village participated. The initial arrangements were often very important and delicate. Until very recently a strict code of conduct was adhered to. Couples' wedding terms and arrangements were arranged and organised by parents. The confidential and unofficial preliminary negotiations were conducted at the house of the bride, but only after a formal meeting was set up by a family friend or elder on behalf of the potential groom. If the prospective bride's family agreed to the potential match, the terms would be discussed. The Dowry was at the centre of this agreement and this would consist of house linens, utensils and expenses for the wedding. In the old days it was common for the engagement to last 2-3 years.[1] it was customary to invite the whole village and the weddings would often start on Monday's and last a whole week. On Monday's the bride and groom's bed would be sown by the village women, this would be accompanied by the violinists playing traditional music. Women and men were separated as a matter of custom and apparently a blind violinist named Mihail often played at the women's reception.[2] Gülferi was a well known violinist of Lurucina. In fact he was so sought after that when he migrated to the UK many Cypriots hired him to play at their weddings. The musicians were never paid by the bride or groom's family. However as the families were called up to dance their traditional wedding dances the relatives would tip them. This money was given to the musical group as a sign of respect and no doubt more than covered their costs. Gulferi's mother Emine was a good döplek player. It was customary to prepare a special meal for the musicians. Once the bed was completed to the sound of music, a young boy would be thrown on the bed and rolled over. Presumably so that the couple would have a healthy boy as their first baby.

On Wednesdays the bride accompanied by many women and music would be taken to the Hamam. The males would either meet up at the groom's house or at the local coffee house if their house was too small. The normal dish would be local mutton with potatoes (Kup Kebab/Kleftico) Despite being Muslims Turkish Cypriots enjoyed wine and Zivania at weddings. Religion played a big part in some of the customs, but being a secular society alcohol was never a problem. A strange twist to the favourite dish was that much of the meat was stolen from local shepherds which meant that the police were often on alert to prevent such thefts. Life being as it was however meant that the police and local officials would also be treated to these famous dishes, and it was also common for some police to turn a blind eye. On Thursdays The groom would have his last bachelor shave to the sound of music, folk songs and poems. The Bride's home would see a hub of activity with the burning of henna, and no doubt sweet songs of praise, her passage to womanhood and her beauty which was sure to hypnotise her groom. Friday was an important day as it was the day that the bride followed by a village procession together with the bride and groom would walk to the groom's house. In front of the procession a man would be carrying a flag and another a bunch of Feslikan flowers on his shoulders. Behind the flag and feslikan (Basil) would be the bride and groom, and at a short distance behind followed by the men. It was considered to be very rude and disrespectful for the men to turn round and glance at the women who followed behind. On nearing the groom's house a race among the youth would begin as to who would reach the house first. The person who won was given a small pillow as a gift. Once the couple reached their home the procession would break up and the couple would begin their married life together.

The following morning the bride's mother would bring some soup to the newlyweds and request to see the quilt for confirmation of her daughter's virginity. The breaking of the hymen and the blood on the quilt was considered to be proof of the female's virginity. Sadly as we all know today the hymen could break even in childhood while playing sport. In fact some are born without it. The lack of blood would potentially break up the marriage and lead to massive gossip. This however seems to have been very rare, as many young couples were much more enlightened than their parents. Historically speaking however it must have caused a great deal of recriminations and heart ache, especially if the poor female was innocent of any impropriety. No doubt judging past peoples beliefs and behaviour by the standards of today is wrong. Their upbringing, standards and beliefs were of a different order. Neither should we shy away from the realities of yesteryear.

Agricultural and livestock fairs

Lurucina, like most Cypriot villages, was blessed with fertile farming land. People often worked from sunrise to sunset. Due to the hard working ethic of the villagers and its immensely productive soil, it helped Lurucina become what was by Cypriot standards of the day a reasonably wealthy farming community. Its vineyards in particular were very fertile and the quality of its produce earned it the nickname ''Stafilyo-horio'', literally ''Vine village’'. Farmers would often gather their produce in the village centre ready to be collected by trucks from the city. Wine producers bought an immense amount of grapes, but grapes were also used to produce large amounts of good quality sucuk and kofter. Arguments among producers in those circumstances often turned out to be tense affairs, and the village mayor would often intervene to calm nerves. Due to the growing importance of its produce, agricultural and livestock fairs started in 1946. This was greeted with enthusiasm. This event gave the producers a greater incentive to produce goods at a higher level of quality. The farming Minister Mr McDonald accepted the invitation from Ali bey the village Muhtar, and after listening to many requests decided that some were relevant to his position while other subjects were politely told that as the agricultural minister they were not part of his departments sphere of concern.[3]

The fair began in earnest and the results of the first fair were published in the village 'Ates newspaper' on the 20 October. Lurucina won the Governor's cup for the best organised farm fair which gave Lurucina a new sense of pride.

The winners and runner ups were as follows.

Best pair of cows: 1. Osman Halilaza, 2 İrfan Ahmet

Mules younger than 3 years of age: 1 Davut Mehmet, 2. İbrahım Yusuf.

Mules older than 3 years of age: 1 Ahmet Bekir, 2 Osman Katsura

üç yaşından büyük merkepler: 1, Mehmet Hasan, 2 Arif Kafa.

Three sheep and one ram1 Ahmet Bekir, 2. Abdullah Damdelen.

A pair of Turkeys: 1 Kemal Hasan, 2. Seval Ali Rauf.

Chicken and Rooster: 1 Kiriakos Hristodulu, 2 Osman Yorgancı.

Goat: 1 Mehmet Veli Bekir, 2. Arif Kafa.

Wheat (Psathas) 1. İbrahım Kangrello, 2. Bekir Seyit Ali.

Wheat (Bafidigo) 1. Arif Süleyman, 2. Mehmet Hasan Karaca.

Arpa: 1. Mehmet Hasan Karaca, 2. Bekir Seyit Ali.

Yulaf: 1, ismi belirtilmiyor, 2 Mehmet Mahmut.

Burçak: 1 İbrahım Kangrello, 2. Hüseyin İbrahım.

çekirdek Pamuk, Seeded cotton: 1 İbrahım Yusuf, 2. Ali Rauf.

Sisam Sesame: 1 İbrahım Yusuf, 2. Yusuf Kamil.

Yeşil Zeytin/Green olives: 1, Ahmet Bekir.

Börülce/ Black eye beans: 1, Hüseyin İbrahım ve İbrahım Yusuf, 2 İbrahım Kangrello.

Tomates/Tomatoes: 1, Mehmet Veli, 2. Mustafa Omer

üzüm/grapes: 1, Kemal Ahmet, 2. Yusuf Yasumullo.

Hellim (Cypriot cheese): 1, Kemal Ahmet, 2. Hüseyin Ali.

Tarhana: 1, Yusuf Seyit Ali, 2. Hüseyin Kara İsmail.

Wine: 1, Mehmet Songur, 2. Osman Talat.

Zivania (a strong spirit): 1, Hasan Yusuf, 2. Hüseyin Geleo.

Nakişlar/lacing: 1, Pembe Yusuf ve Nebile Osman, 2. Cemaliye Osman, 3. Şerife Nasip.[4]

Schools and education

When the British took over the administration of Cyprus in 1878 the island had such few schools that literacy levels were very low. Illiteracy and ignorance were rife. Though no definite date is known, The first primary school in Lurucina is believed to have opened around the year 1900.[5] The documentation for the opening however has not been found. The education and cultural Ministry's documents do show however that by 1919-1920 a primary school for males was up and running with 53 pupils. The teacher at the time was Ismail Mehmet Efendi from the Kavaz family. The yearly wages earned by the teacher was 26 pounds. 20 was paid by Evkaf (trust) the remaining 6 pounds were covered by the state. According to old timers every student that attended would make a gift to the teacher of eggs, bread or other types of food.[6]

In 1915 the village Muhtar Yusuf Ali with the support of Azalar Ahmet Osman, Arif İbrahım and Süleyman Arif presented a written request to Evkaf to support the opening of a girl school in the village. After five years of repeated lobbying a girls school was finally opened in 1920 and a female teacher named Nahide Ahmet began in earnest. 42 girls attended the school. The first boys school was next to the village mosque, while the girls school was a bit further up the road near the village square. A few years later south of the village a mixed school was established on a high spot with a sizable playground. With the growing interest in educating their children the school soon became full and the expanded building was unable to accommodate all the students. To satisfy the needs of a growing population a second primary school was opened on the road that led to the village of Limbia.

The determination of the village officials in lobbying the authorities to open a secondary school finally paid dividends and in 1951 the first secondary school in Lurucina was opened with enthusiasm. In addition to the students of the village other nearby villages like üçşehitler (Goşşi), Esendağ (Petrofan), Gaziler (Piroi), Dereliköy (Bodamya), Arpalık( Ay Sozomenos), and Dali began to attend. Some came by Bicycle. With much poverty owning a Bicycle was not always within families means however so many pupils had to walk the 2-4 miles to Lurucina. It was not uncommon for two children to ride on the same bike. Regardless of the weather, rain, heat, cold mattered little the desire to acquire a degree of education was so high that many children simply walked to and from their respective villages

The first secondary school building was at Hüseyin Esmeroğlu's house, but very soon as the classes grew to 3 then permission was granted to begin classes in another building near to the mosque. This was a turning point in the village education and later on a much larger building was finally built. Opening a secondary school in Lurucina was a turning point. Many students from Lurucina and the surrounding villages who attended the secondary school eventually went on to higher education. Many became doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers and many other professional trades. One of the most famous teachers who made a positive impact on the village education was no doubt Orhan Seyfi Ari. He went on to become a famous Cypriot poet earning him respect from all the ethnic communities on the island. There were many problems during this period, school fees, ignorance, poverty and resistance to change all played their part . According to Orhan Ari's memoirs he often went from house to house and even to the farming fields to encourage families to allow their children to attend school.[7] Some could not afford the school fees which in those days was common, and he started a collection fund to assist the poorer children to pay their fees. His dedication to his duty earned him so much respect that after their resettlement to Lisi/Akdogan in 1976 the people of Lurucina named a street after him in his honour.

We have to bear in mind that being a male dominated society in the 1940's and 1950's, sending females to higher education was resisted by some. This was eventually overcome to a great degree and many females from Lurucina went on to become professional's in their chosen careers. Within a few years the number of females entering secondary school jumped from 30 to 60-70. The village Muhtar (Mayor) Ali Rauf Efendi made great efforts to encourage locals to educate their children and raise the standards of the village to a higher level.

The Mosque and national days

There was only one mosque in the village. The precise date of its original construction is not known, The Lord Kitchener maps of 1882 indicate a mosque in the exact spot of today's one [8] but the present day building dates to the turn of the 20th century. The minaret itself was not built until 1930. The Muslim cemetery itself was built on the entrance to the village. It is believed that the cemetery was built by the first known muhtar of the village, Mehmet Bedasi. Once this became full a new cemetery was built just to the east on the Dali road in 1967.

Most national and religious days were greeted with enthusiasm. After the customary visit to the mosque many would begin the celebrations. The wealthier families occasionally gave gifts to the poorer members of the community. Due to the poverty prevailing in the 1900's the village like others also had their share of beggars. With no cinema in the village the young often made makeshift platforms to give performances and entertain the locals. In 1958 a cinema was opened by the Kavaz family of Veli Bekir Kavaz 'Gutsoveli' and his sons (now known as the Demirci family).[9] They built a summer and a winter cinema and named it ''The Ulus Cinema'', after Ulus Ulfet who died in 1957 during the Cyprus

emergency.[10] Another cinema was later built by Bekir Seyit Ali. As with the rest of the world however the growing affordability and expansion of television ownership led to the cinemas losing their popularity. Before the start of cinemas in Lurucina people often made their way to a cinema 2-3 miles away in Dali run by Mr Vasos.

In 1948 Bekir Veli Demirci began the custom of firing a cannon shot to celebrate the end of the fasting on religious holidays. While preparing at his home for such an event in 1948 the powder exploded and he lost the use of his right arm. Despite this accident once recovering he continued his annual salutary shots until 1977.

Trades and skills

During the 1930's the level of professional skills among the people of the village was at a low ebb. With the advances in education and determination to better themselves many people began to learn new trades. By the 1950's master builders, Footwear, clothing, carpentry, mechanics etc were growing in number. Even in the music industry and theatre were a growing passion. Gülferi Süleyman went on to become one of the best known violinists in Cyprus. Osman Balikcioglu, though not actually born in the village, had his roots in Lurucina. Osman is today one of the most popular actors on the theatre stage. Ramadan Gökşan was a well known Zurna player which is a popular instrument at Turkish weddings, and celebration of national events. His son Ismail Gökşan was another popular violinist, while his brother Rifat played the drums.[11] Veli Mustafa 'Kirlapo' was also a sought after drummer at village weddings.[12] Zeki Ernaz and a Kemal was so good that they nicknamed him after the instrument he played which was a sort of drum called a 'Lauta' or Oud in English which is similar to a lute. A Yusuf was also popular with the Darbuka (a goblet drum)

[1] Akıncılar (Lurucina) Türklerin Yüzyıllık Varoluş Mücadelesi By Hasan Yücelen 'Mudaho' pages 55-58

[2] Akıncılar (Lurucina) Türklerin Yüzyıllık Varoluş Mücadelesi By Hasan Yücelen 'Mudaho' pages 55-58

[3] Akıncılar (Lurucina) Türklerin Yüzyıllık Varoluş Mücadelesi By Hasan Yücelen 'Mudaho' pages 72-75

[4] Akıncılar (Lurucina) Türklerin Yüzyıllık Varoluş Mücadelesi By Hasan Yücelen 'Mudaho' pages 72-75

[5] Akıncılar (Lurucina) Türklerin Yüzyıllık Varoluş Mücadelesi By Hasan Yücelen 'Mudaho' pages 84-87

[6] Akıncılar (Lurucina) Türklerin Yüzyıllık Varoluş Mücadelesi By Hasan Yücelen 'Mudaho' pages 84-87

[7] Eren Ari (His son)in a personal correspondence & Akıncılar (Lurucina) Türklerin Yüzyıllık Varoluş Mücadelesi By Hasan Yücelen 'Mudaho' pages 84-87

[8] Maps of Lord Kitchener 1882, map No; 66. Enhancing the map on a computer shows this clearly.

[9] Akıncılar (Lurucina) Türklerin Yüzyıllık Varoluş Mücadelesi By Hasan Yücelen 'Mudaho' pages 87-89

[10] Şehit Ailelerı ve Malul Gaziler Derneği.

[11] Akıncılar (Lurucina) Türklerin Yüzyıllık Varoluş Mücadelesi By Hasan Yücelen 'Mudaho' pages 91-93

[12] Grandfather of the author of this research.

Photos on this page have been shared by courtesy of the following person's

Hansel Usta

Ibrahim Yusuf Yakula

Hasan Bekir Gutsoveli

Hasan Gazi

Yusuf Toz

Eren Ari

Mustafa Gelener

Feridun Toz

Most of the following photos have been shared by courtesy of Korman Kocaismail

bottom of page