Kurban Bayram | What is Kurban Bayram

Kurban Bayram or Eid al-Adha is one of the most important holidays in the Islamic Calendar and also the longest holiday here in Turkey.

Millions of Muslims around the world and in Turkey will celebrate the festival by offering a Sacrifice to Allah (God).

For many Expats this is unsavoury time of year, where 1000’s of animals are Sacrificed for the holiday and some even choose to leave the country during this time.

Kurban Bayram happens 40 days after Ramadan and marks the end of the holy pilgramge to Mecca.  Kurban Bayramı begins on the 10th day of the Islamic calendar known in Turkey as Zilhicce (Dhul-hijja)

Why is Kurban Bayram Celebrated?

In the Qur’an Abraham was asked to Sacrifice his son Ishmael by Allah.  Abraham was willing to show his submission to Allah by Sacrificing Ishmael, Allah saw that Abraham was prepared to make the ultimate Sacrifice and stopped him and in Ishmaels place Abraham sacrificed a Ram.

Every year Muslim Families around the world offer a Sacrifice of an animal to show their will to Allah.

Kurban Bayram Traditions

What happens during Kurban Bayram?

The animals will be brought into designated areas of the cities and towns for sale and the Men will go and choose an animal.  You can also now purchase an already butchered animal from most of the supermarkets which allows families to spread the cost of purchasing an animal.

The animals must be 1 year old and in good health.  When they are sacrificed a prayer is said over the animal and the throat is cut.

Rich families will sacrifice a large cow or bull, with most choosing to sacrifice a sheep or goat.  Normally one animal per family with each member of the family giving money towards the Sacrifice.

Often an animal is Sacrificed in the name of a Son or Family Member.  In our family it has been done to honour the return of a son from National Service in the Army.

The meat is then cut up and it must be divided by 1 third to the house, 1 third to neighbours and friends and the last third going to the poor and needy.

The cost of meat here in Turkey means many families can’t afford to Sacrifice an animal and some choose not to make a sacrifice in the modern day.  Instead a charitable donation must be given by the family.

Planning to Visit During Kurban Bayram

If you are planning to visit during Kurban Bayram you most probably won’t see any Sacrifices unless you are visiting family.  The Government has order that all Sacrifices must take place in designated areas but some still carry out Sacrifices in back gardens and street corners so do be aware if you are squeamish and I personally wouldn’t recommend visiting the areas where sacrifices are happening.

With Kurban Bayram being a national holiday many travel to visit family or take a vacations this means travelling around Turkey at this time can be difficult as it is extremely busy, with bus and plane tickets selling out weeks in advance.  The roads around Turkey are also very busy and at times dangerous.

If you are planning a trip around Kurban Bayram make sure you plan ahead for travel and be aware that public buildings, government offices and banks will be shut for the holiday.  The shops do close for the first day of Bayram but open again on the second day and many will have Bayram sales on so it’s a good time for some shopping.

Dates for Kurban Bayram

2014 October 4, 5 , 6 and 7.

2015 September 23, 24, 25, 26

2016 September 12, 13, 14, 15

2017 September 1, 2, 3, 4

2018 August 21, 22, 23, 24

2019 August 11,12, 13,14

2020 31 July to 1, 2, 3 August.

What is your experience of Kurban Bayram in Turkey?


If you have a question about Kurban Bayram please ask in the comments below

© 2012 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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