June 12, 2011

How To Discover Your Fortune In Istanbul

Fortune-telling has long played an important role in Turkish culture. Even after the conversion to Islam, which deems fortune telling sinful, Turks continued to practice and value fortune-telling. In fact, a müneccimbaşı (the head of fortune tellers) was kept in the Ottoman palaces to cater to the Sultans’ desires of knowing what the future holds.


With such a long history, fortune-telling comes in many forms and has developed considerably over the years.

Today, the options range from water, tea, and coffee, to kurşun dökme (lead pouring), chamomile, and palm reading. The most traditional and widespread of these forms are kahve falı (the reading of fortune through the coffee cup) and kurşun dökme (the pouring of lead in water).

Drinking Turkish coffee is an intrinsic and inseparable part of Turkish culture and, in many ways, it is like a ritual that goes hand in hand with heartfelt conversations with friends. Often, this sense of ritual makes kahve falı all the more enthralling.

It’s not just “professional” fortune-tellers that practice kahve falı, and this method of fortune-telling is not always done with the serious intention of learning about thefuture. In fact, many women know how to read kahve falı and most certainly have had their fortune told in this way.

The root of this type of fortune-telling supposedly dates back to the Ottoman period when Arab nannies lived with wealthy Istanbul families, bringing the kahve falı with them, and it has changed very little from its original version.

First, the coffee is drunk (with the dregs left in the cup). The fincan is then turned over on its plate and then swirled around three times while muttering “Neyse halim, çıksın falım” (May the fortune show what my circumstances hold.). Once the cup has cooled, it is turned over and the fortune is read based on the various shapes that the dregs have taken.

Read more on Business Insider: How To Discover Your Fortune In Istanbul

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