As the story goes, on March 26, 1981, a group of Turkish poets led by Turgut Uyar and Edip Cansever (of the Second New fame) were drinking together with their friends at a restaurant on the Bosphorus, as was usual for many similar nights. One of their friends at the table starts to talk about how she constantly lived with a fear of dying, as she had a needle lodged in her body and that the needle would travel to her heart.
Turgut Uyar then orders a bottle of rakı, asks everyone at the table to sign the label, and he gives it back to the waiter: “Keep this bottle, we’ll all get together next year on this day to drink it.”
They keep up the promise year after year as a continuing tradition and to celebrate another year of not dying. So March 26 has now become “The Day of Not Dying,” a day to get together with friends, to drink, eat, talk about literature, poetry, and of being alive.
The Second New poetry, as well as the place of rakı in Turkish culture is too deep to go into here, but see hashtag
#ölmemegünü on twitter and on instagram,
or the spelling without the diacritical Turkish letters
#olmemegunu on twitter and on instagram,
and also a short collection of poems, Keep the Change, published by Deuxmers.