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The Ingredients of Aşure

September 24, 2020@5:00 pm7:30 pm

Online Workshop

The Ingredients of Aşure

which will take place on 24 September 2020

17.00 – 19.30 (Istanbul time)

via Zoom

The workshop is part of a series of research meetings dedicated to Materialities of Everyday Religiosity, Past and Present. It aims to look closely at aşure, the sweet boiled grain soup, or pudding, which is ceremonially cooked and distributed in the month of Muharrem. The ingredients of aşure are amazingly numerous, and manifold and ambiguous religious connotations are connected to this dish, which seems to evade simple categorizations. It is both sweet and savoury; it is cooked, and distributed among neighbours, by religious and secular people of all kinds of urban and rural backgrounds. The variety of grains, pulses and dry fruit it is composed of are often commemorated as the food supplies on Noah’s ark; but this is only one of the numerous oral traditions related to the cooking of aşure. It is surprising that so far, neither anthropology of religion nor anthropology of food have thoroughly dealt with this ceremonial dish. We are therefore pleased that three experts on the topic have agreed to share and discuss a part of their work on the cultural history, ritual, and symbolism of aşure. Priscilla Mary Işın (Istanbul), an authority in the historical research of Ottman food and sweets will shed light on aşure in the 17th century according to Evliya Çelebi. Anthropologist Dr. Marie Hélène Sauner (Idemec Aix-Marseille/Galatasaray University Istanbul) will present from her research on oral tradition related to colours and textures of aşure. Prof. em. Frances Trix (Indiana University, Bloomington), drawing on many decades of her ethnographic fieldwork among Albanian Bektaşis, will share some of her memories of Bektaşi aşure ceremonies in Michigan. Anthropologist of religion Dr. Esther Voswinckel Filiz (Orient-Institut Istanbul) will shed light on the ritual importance of aşure cooking and distribution at some of Istanbul’s historical Sufi tekkes.

In order to register for the event and in order to receive the zoom admission code, please write an email to no later than Tuesday, 22 September.

Together with my colleagues in the research field History of Religions of Anatolia I am looking forward to welcoming you at our online event. Esther Voswinckel Filiz


September 24, 2020
5:00 pm-7:30 pm


Orient-Institut Istanbul
Şahkulu Mah., Galip Dede Cad. No. 65
Beyoğlu, İstanbul 34421 Turkey
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