Ramazan is a special time during the Islamic calender and time that I have come to like as the atmosphere in our neighbourhood changes and there is a real sense of occasion for the whole month of Ramazan. Depending on where you live your experience of Ramazan will be different and this is my experience of Ramazan in my neighbourhood.
On the weeks building up to Ramazan the housewives get busy cleaning and preparing the home for Ramazan and the coming Seker Bayram holiday at the end of Ramazan.
Then the week before Ramazan you start to feel an anticpiation from people and kind of festive feel for the coming month of Ramazan.
The markets are busier with people out buying foods for the morning breakfast and the evening meal called Itfar. Special foods appear on the shelves of the supermarkets like Gullac and you see Dates on sale everywhere. In the supermarkets will also see special boxes containing a selection of foods, these boxes can be purchased as gifts to give to people who you may be visiting or even to give to those around you who are less fortunate. Even in online stores (like Artz-i), there tends to be a rush to buy gifts for their near ones.
On the eve of Ramazan the Mosques turn on lights of the minarets and special prayers are said at evening prayer.
Then on the first morning of Ramazan everyone rises early normally woken by the Ramazan drummer who walks round the streets banging a drum to wake you from your sleep so you can eat your breakfast before the first morning prayer at dawn and fasting begins.
During the day our neighbourhood is fairly quiet, those that work head off for the day and others remaining at home, some devoting more time to prayer and private contemplation or reading the Qur’an.
For the housewives there is time for devotion but also time to get on with the daily tasks of cleaning the home and looking after the family and also preparing the evening meal which is probably the hardest part of the day while fasting.
Then in the evening many wait with growing anticipation for the arrival of sunset, sitting out on balconies and chatting waiting to eat the special foods prepared to break the day of fasting.
One special part of the meal is the Ramazan Pide a round bread prepared only during the month of Ramazan and important part of the evening meal. In the evening time before sunset you will see queues at bakery’s normally made up of men to buy the fresh baked Pide’s to take home for the evening meal.
Once the fast has been broken many will head of to the Mosque for evening prayer (only the men). These prayers normally last around an hour and happen every evening throughout Ramazan.
After the evening meal, a new atmosphere takes over the neighbourhood, the local kids come out to sell there macaroons, which they call “Kaymak” shouting out as they run along the streets trying to out sell each other, people go for walks and visit friends and family and some head into city center to enjoy some of the evening activities and fairs put on by the local council.
Ramazan is not only a time for contemplation but also a time for family, friends and community. Some don’t like this time of year and yet I can’t help but like this time of year.
Next read: Ramazan in Turkey 2014
© 2014 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.