Today we went to the Town Centre to do a little shopping and the atmosphere was full of anticipation for the coming Şeker Bayram holiday.
The City Centre was awash with people. The banks and Post Offices had queues onto the street and the air was filled with the sound of car horns blasting as the city became grid locked with cars trying to find somewhere to park.
The reason for this excitement is because it is the end of Ramazan the holy month for Muslims and the Sugar Holiday begins (Şeker Bayram). The atmosphere is not unlike Christmas time with people out buying food, presents and sweets to hand out to the children when the come to your door, not unlike Halloween .
One tradition is everyone in the household gets a new outfit for the holiday, for some families this is the only time of year that they will get new clothes. These new outfits will be worn during the Bayram and for the rest of the year during special occasions.
On the first day of Şeker Bayram it is traditional for the Men of the house to attend the Mosque for morning prayers and on their return will be greeted in the house with the offer of Sweets and kissed on the hand as a mark of respect starting with the elder of the family. This is a traditional kiss; you first kiss their hand and then lift the hand to touch your forehead and they will kiss you on both your cheeks a sign of love.
After a family breakfast, most kids will head out to visit their neighbours to wish them happy Bayram and collect the sweets on offer at the various doors. Then the traditional visits begin, the younger members of the families go to visit the elder relatives and visits to neighbours and friends are also made. Families will visit graves of family members to pay their respects.
When you visit a household you will be given sweets, baklava or something sweet and beverages. Visits are normally short as there are many visits to be made. When the children knock on your door as a tradition they will kiss your hand, when they kiss your hand you in turn kiss both their cheeks, after the happy bayram’s are said you can offer them some sweets in return. A new tradition that is growing is for money to be given instead of sweets, but this is more within the family and close friends.
Şeker Bayram lasts 3 days and most shops, government buildings and offices are closed for this time. You will find that on the second day of Seker Bayram that some of the shops will re-open but it is advisable that you buy all that you may need for the 3 days. Watch out if you are travelling during Şeker Bayram as the traffic is very busy and there are a lot of accidents during the holiday time.
Before the holiday begins and on the first day of Şeker Bayram the Drummers who woke you every morning will come round banging their drums, this is the time when you tip them for waking you each morning, 5 lira is normally a fair price to pay!
I hope you all enjoy this time of celebration and all that is left for me to say is Iyi Bayramlar, Happy Bayram enjoy.
Dates for Ramazan and Seker Bayram:
Some Şeker Bayram Greetings/Sayings
Iyi Bayramlar – Happy Bayram
Bayraminiz Kutlu Olsun – Happy Bayram
Ramazan Bayramınız mübarek olsun – Ramadan holiday Greetings
© 2010 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.