The Story of Our Name

Umay is a female figure in Turkic mythology. Its root meaning comes from hope, wish and intent while simultaneously denoting placenta (umay also means ‘womb’ in Mongolian), dates back in the 8th century. Umay goddess is in charge of protecting children and baby-animals such as kids, kittens, and cubs. She is believed to bring fertility and guide pregnant women as well ( She is revived in the character of an energetic, wise, generous, independent, and eccentric grandmother (Umay Nine) in Buket Uzuner’s novel series, The Adventures of Misfit Defne Kaman since 2016. The female journalist, Defne’s research on environment, women’s rights, smuggling on historical artifacts in Turkey put her into trouble in each volume, but her grandmother Umay always keeps calm and protects Defne by appropriating some ancient Shaman traditions in Anatolia.