Tulips, Turkey, and Wooden Shoes

Tulip Day

Reading Comprehension for May 13

Does the title make you wonder what tulips, Turkey, and wooden shoes have in common? Well, if you are thinking about the turkey bird, not much. If you are thinking about the country of Turkey, they have a lot in common. It's quite a story.

You might think that tulips come from Holland, but that is not true. Tulips first grew wild in the country of Turkey. You can even find some wild tulips growing today in the mountains of Europe. Most of those are very different from the kinds we grow in our gardens.

The Turkish people were cultivating tulips more than 1,000 years ago. Long before they were grown in European gardens, they were popular in Turkish ones. The name tulip came from the headdress or head wrapping, the turban, which Turkish men wore. The tulip's shape is very similar to that of a turban; furthermore, tulips were also commonly worn on the turban in the days of the Ottoman Empire. As Turkish culture spread across Europe, the word for turban and the name of the flower began to be translated as the same word. The French translation of tulipa or tulipant gave way to the English translation, tulip.

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