Bayrams in Turkey

5 min read

Let’s take a look at the bayrams in Turkey.

Şeker Bayramı (Candy or Ramadan Holiday)

Şeker Bayramı is a holiday celebrated by Muslims and it follows Ramazan (30 days of fast – nothing is consumed from sunrise to sunset). As with all holidays this is a time to solve any disputes and problems you may have with other people. During Şeker Bayram sweets are eaten and the younger members visit the older members of the family. Most people actually gain weight during Ramazan due to the numerous invitations to İftar (evening meal to break the days past) – copious amounts of delicious food are presented for guests and it is hard to control oneself after fasting all day. It is normal for children to have trouble with their stomachs as a result of eating too much candy and chocolate during Bayram visits. The following Şeker Bayramı is on August 19,20 and 21, 2012.

Kurban Bayramı (Sacrifice Holiday)

Kurban Bayramı celebrated two months and ten days after Şeker Bayramı is Turkey’s longest religious and also secular holiday. This holiday commemorates Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son Ismail (Isaac). It is a shocking experience for newcomers. According to Muslim beliefs rams and calves are sacrificed. Following Islamic tradition every devout household who can afford it buys one.In recent years Muslims have begun to make donations to charitable institutions instead of sacrificing animals. Despite this however, your neighbor may still decide to sacrifice a sheep, and you might be surprised to see this happen in your garden! The owners of these animals sacrifice them according to appropriate Muslim traditions with the assistance of a butcher on the morning of Kurban Bayramı. In accordance with Muslim traditions 1/3 of the meat should immediately be cooked at home by the owner of the animal, 1/3 of the meat should be distributed among the poor and the last 1/3 should distributed among neighbors and relatives. Kurban Bayram in 2012 is on October 25, 26, 27 and 28.
In recent years, for many, Bayrams have become nothing more than a chance for a vacation, rather than maintaining any real religious significance. This means that all forms of public transport are fully booked, roads are very busy and accommodation of all types in the resorts will be scarce and expensive.

In more traditional neighborhoods however, the younger people still visit the older family members and in true Bayram tradition the young kiss the hand of the old and put it to his/her forehead. In the old days the older members of the family would put some banknotes inside handkerchiefs and give them to the children who kissed their hands. However since handkerchiefs are not commonly used anymore (paper tissues have already replaced them), this tradition is about to be lost. In some families, members meet in the house of the oldest member and they celebrate the Bayram and eat lunch together. Lokum (Turkish delight), chocolate and liqueur served in a miniature glass are offered. If you pay a Bayram visit to a Muslim we suggest that you not refuse anything offered. Even if you eat a very small piece it shows gratitute and will please your host.

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