Today Saturday the 28th of June is the first day of Ramazan (Ramadan). Ramazan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and is 30 days of fasting. Fasting is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, fasting is a way to show obedience to Allah and a way to to make amends for mistakes and sin’s.
For more on Ramazan see: What is Ramazan?
During Ramazan Muslims around the word fast from Sunrise to Sunset. Before Sunrise in Turkey you may hear the Ramazan drummer coming round the streets at the moment the time is around 3 am, to wake those who are fasting so they may eat before Sunrise, this meal is called Sahur.
During the day Muslims who are fasting may not eat, drink, smoke or even take part in sexual relations. Many take this time to pray and ask for forgiveness of past sins and to cleanse themselves.
As sunset approaches, the most important meal of the day is imminent, Iftar is the evening meal served at sunset after a long day of fasting. This is when life in Turkey often becomes a bit crazy as people rush to get home to have their meal so be careful on the roads.
In many towns and cities a cannon (well a sound of one) is sounded at the correct time of sunset for the Iftar meal to start. Some listen to the television watching the many evening Iftar programs, which show the times for each area and when your time comes up you can begin to eat!
The Iftar meal varies depending on the family and who is attending, often families and friends gather together to break their fast with each other, making this a time for people to come together not unlike Christmas, you may see those you haven’t seen all year.
There is more to Ramazan than fasting!
Ramazan isn’t just about fasting but also about family and community, many give money or meals to the Mosque and charities for those in need, you can also visit the many Iftar tents set up in every city for those who aren’t so well off or just for the local community to come together at Iftar.
Those who can’t fast, due to illness, pregnancy or even traveling, can pay a penance normally a sum of money to the Mosque or a Charity of choice instead of fasting.
The end of Ramazan
Ramazan this year in Turkey will finish on the 27th of July, the date may vary or times may vary slightly around the world as the date and time are decided depending on when the new moon has been sighted.
The last ten days of Ramazan is a special time during Ramazan. The most important night being the last night which this year is on the 27th of July. This Night is called the “Night of Power or Destiny” This is the night that Muhammad is thought to have received the first revelation of the Koran.
On the 28th of July this year, the first Day of Şeker Bayram begins for 3 days national holiday in Turkey meaning, banks, government offices and schools are closed. Şeker, meaning sugar or sweets is a time when families come together to celebrate the end of Ramazan.
For more on Şeker Bayram visit my article: Şeker Bayram
“Nobody Should be Left Alone”
You may also be interested to know that this year’s theme of Ramazan in Turkey is Loneliness, with the slogan of “Nobody Should be Left Alone”. This theme is set to raise awareness of modern day loneliness, encompassing, refugees, orphans, street children and the elderly.
Holidaying in Turkey During Ramazan
While in Turkey on holiday, you may not notice much difference in the holiday resorts as life continues on as normal but do spare a thought of those who are fasting or can’t be home during this special time.
Outside of the resorts, some shops and restaurants will be closed during the whole of Ramazan or just during the time of fasting. Try to abstain from eating in the streets or drinking water out of respect to those fasting. If you are looking for somewhere to eat, you may find restaurants open and these normally have their windows and doors covered so those fasting don’t see in!
Do be aware of the roads as they do become more crazy during the month of Ramazan and especially around Iftar time.
The local restaurants will all offer a Ramazan Meal which you pay a set price normally, soup and main course and a sweet.
And don’t miss out on the special Ramazan Pide, made only during Ramazan. You will see queues outside of the bakery’s or supermarkets normally mainly men, waiting on hot fresh Ramazan Pide to eat with Iftar. You will also find many other tasty treats on offer during Ramzan so look out for them.
For more on Ramazan in Turkey read my article: Ramazan Living in Turkey
© 2014 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.