Altın Günü: A Guide to Mastering the Five Elements

Altın günü (Literally Gold Day) is not just a get-together of women, it is a culture. So if you have no clue on how to behave properly, fret not. This guide is here to make you the queen of your first altın günü.

The essence of altın günü is occasions where women get together for afternoon tea at regular intervals with their friends and/or neighbors. Unlike a normal get-together, these are very elaborate affairs with at least a dozen different types of cakes, pastries, sarmas, kısırs, and böreks prepared by the hostess. The main social purpose of these gatherings is to chit-chat and share experiences about all aspects of life. Our guide aims to cover a typical altın günü that spans over five sessions.

Gossip Session

Dedikodu is the first word you shall learn if you plan to join an altın günü soon. Other varieties are fiskos and gıybet, but they are not used as common as dedikodu.

Next up, you shall master the tense. Mış/miş: Hatice yapmış, İsmet demiş, Safiye gitmiş. After all, you are only narrating what you heard from someone else. In this case, you may also need “X söyledi, ben de onun yalancısıyım,(“X told me so, I take her words”) to strengthen your hand.

You can start a gossip session with one of the few phrases below:

Arkasından konuşmuş gibi olmayalım da… – This is not talking behind her back but…
Dedikoduyu sevmem ama… – I don’t really like to gossip but…
Benden duymuş olma ama… – Don’t tell anyone that I told you this but…
Aramızda kalsın da… – Let’s keep this as a secret between us but…

Some fillers you should throw around every once in a while include, but are not limited to, “Aaa…” to show how surprised you are, “Amaaan…” to say you have had enough of something, “Ay yok artık!” for ‘no way’, and “Ayıp valla” for shaming an aforementioned person.

You might wanna throw a few “Karşımda olsa yüzüne de söylerim,” (If she was in front of me, I would tell it to her face) between your words to keep your audience as enthusiastic.

You can end a successful gossip session with “Neyse, dedikodu yapmayalım,” (Anyway, let’s not gossip) after you’ve cooled down. 

Recipe Session

While food is being eaten, one of the most popular topics of discussion is naturally, recipes. Each altın günü has a favorite recipe closely associated with the host. Such as Ayşe’nin mercimekli köftesi, Hamiyet’in kakaolu keki, etc. In this session, women chit-chat about their new culinary inventions, the know-how of popular dishes, and follow it with a discussion on their new diet regimen and how they have lost a few pounds with this latest fad diet.

Futuristic Turkish Coffee Session

When it comes to a Turkish coffee session, it is time for the smartphones to come out. In the past when we did not have smartphones, it was usually done by the eldest or most spiritual one (kalp gözü açık), but nowadays the Kaave Falı app comes to the rescue.

You open the app, take a photo of your coffee cup when it has cooled down, and submit it along with some basic details such as your name, age, and location. Then, you just wait for Falcı Bacı to do her magic for a few minutes. Zzzzt! You have a message from Falcı Bacı! She has read your coffee cup and will tell you all about the plans your life has laid out for you. You can even upgrade your fal with many more details if you are willing to pay.

Whether you pay extra or not, don’t forget the Turkish saying: Fala inanma falsız kalma. Basically, don’t believe in the fortune, but also don’t miss an opportunity to get your fortune read. As a general rule, you should make sure to take the news lightly before you invest all your savings in that Gucci bag.

Dancing Session

Oh, what’s that I hear? Belly dance tunes? Hurray, everyone up! Sequined belts on, terliks off. Dance dance dance till you burn all those cakes and böreks you’ve just gulped down along with several cups of black tea.

“Aaa… oturmaya mı geldik, ayol?” is a sentence you will hear over and over again accompanied by a carefree hand wave to the air as if the speaker is getting rid of all her problems with one move.

Gold Session

As expected with a name like ‘altın günü’, now comes the point to break out the çeyrek altın you brought. At every meeting, it is one of the women’s turns to collect all the gold. She can either keep it in her savings or use it for her needs. She just needs to make sure to come with gold for the next altın günü, otherwise, she will be uninvited from future events and likely the target of the next gossip session. Uh oh. Aramızda kalsın ama did you hear what Nurten did with all those golds she collected? Tcık Tcık… Ayıp valla!

All in all, an altın günü might be just what you need to blend in with Turkish society and learn the language and culture through a shortcut. Don’t forget to check out some classic altın günü recipes and their modern twists. Who knows, maybe in a few months, it could be your turn to host an altın günü.

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