Ezo, good natured and beautiful, married badly – twice. Her life was so tragic, it became a legend.
Ezo’s family stored their water in a large jug outside the front door. When dry and dusty travelers wanted a drink, Ezo graciously served them.
Tales of Ezo’s beauty spread along the caravan route. Soon, camel drivers were stopping by Ezo’s house to see her lovely face and spend time in her company. This happy time came to an end when she was 20. Her family arranged Ezo’s marriage to a man who was in love with someone else.
After the wedding, Ezo’s husband ignored her and left her alone while he trailed after the woman he truly loved. For Ezo, who was used to being cherished, this was intolerable. After a year, she returned to her family and divorced her husband.
Ezo remained single for six years, at which time her family arranged a second marriage to a cousin who lived across the border in Syria. Though Ezo had six daughters in Syria, she remained homesick for her family and village. Adding to Ezo’s misery was a mother-in-law who couldn’t be pleased.
Ezo died at 46. She was buried, at her request, on a hill looking north to the Turkish village she missed so badly. After a bureaucratic battle between Turkey and Syria,Ezo’s remains were removed from her Syrian grave in 1999, and she was reburied in her home village of Dokuzyol.
Ezo’s tragic life has been popularized in Turkey through song, film, and television. Though her life was spent in hardship, Ezo became the emblem of traditional values: love, honor, pride, beauty, longing for homeland, and patience.
Cementing Ezo’s role in Turkish culture is a soup named for her: Ezo Gelin Çorbasi (The Bride Ezo’s Soup). Some say Ezo created the soup to placate her miserable mother-in-law, successfully or unsuccessfully, depending on who’s telling the story.
Others say the soup is named for Ezo because, like the soup, her example strengthens women for the many challenges of married life. In Turkey, women eat Ezo Gelin Soup right before their wedding.