Fit for a King: Sunday Sultans

Outside the walls of Constantinople lies a conservative neighborhood named Eyüp, known to the tourists for its picturesque hillside cafe Pierre Loti, and also a place of pilgrimage for Muslims who come to pay respects to the tomb of Mohammed’s companion, Abu Ayyub.

We paid visits to both on this relaxed Sunday afternoon. The remarkable and curious part of this day trip, however, was not the Cafe nor the mosque. It was the mini sultans proudly prancing around with their parents, staff in hand, grins on their faces. They were adorable in their little white and gold suits, often accompanied by a brother of similar age, dolled up as if it were some sort of Turkish halloween. They were everywhere: outside the mosque, walking through the parking lot, enjoying rides on the teleferic that led up to the cafe. We’d never seen little sultans like this; what was it all about?

Turns out that there was a story underneath this attractive little suit. In Turkey, the little boys partake in a coming-of age-ceremony anytime between birth and age seven–it’s called circumcision. As a consolation prize, they are gifted these fine suits and presents and a big party with friends and relatives and they delight in being the center of attention for a day.

They’d all come out this Sunday to parade around Eyüp and we were thankful not to know the true meaning of the suits until after we had the chance to admire these little kings, the Sunday sultans.

Photo: Hannah Sokol

Day 12 of 30; Postcards from Turkey 


~ by maureenmoore on July 20, 2013.

4 Responses to “Fit for a King: Sunday Sultans”

  1. Thank you for your ongoing posts, Mo; they’re so enjoyable, and it’s what I think every time I read them, but I realize just thinking so, you’ll never know until I tell you so! Thank you!!!

  2. I learn something new everyday from your travel postcards. I’d say the little sultans deserve their party!! ~jm

    • They most certainly do! (I was also told by a local that often times it’s handled at birth these days, but they just wait a few years to host the party. Let’s hope so!)

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