A very different celebration of the end of the holy month of Ramazan…
Ramazan Bayramı (Eid al-Fitr)
The end of Ramazan is celebrated with a holiday. It starts at sunset on the last day of Ramazan and celebrates the completion of the holy month of fasting.
This year, Ramazan Bayramı (Eid al-Fitr) began on Sunday 24 May and will end on Tuesday 26 May.
The government have imposed a four-day curfew in all 81 provinces of Turkey to maintain control of the virus and millions of Muslims are celebrating Ramazan Bayramı at home.
A very different celebration
Ramazan Bayramı is a time of renewal and Turkey is accustomed to enthusiastic celebrations and big family gatherings, a ritual that dates back all the way to the Ottoman era.
Last year, with many hotels at 100% occupancy over the holiday period, the roads and beaches in and around the area were extremely busy, with the road to Ölüdeniz gridlocked for hours.
This year, the hotels remain closed and the roads are empty.
Turkey’s Muslims visit mosques to offer prayers during the first day of Eid al-Fitr.
This year, the mosques around Turkey ring out the call to prayer but remain empty as, for the first time ever, citizens experience the sadness of not being able to perform the Eid prayer in the mosque.
During the holiday, people visit relatives and friends, and may also go to the graveyards to pay their respect to the deceased.
This year, the graveyards remain empty. Fresh flowers, some starting to wilt in the heat, bear testament that families have visited their loved ones before the curfew.
It’s an important time for families to be together and the roads are normally full of people doing the rounds of visits to parents, cousins, aunts and in-laws.
This year, the roads are empty, with the only traffic a tortoise watched by a bemused cat in Taşyaka.
Ramazan Bayramı is also known as Şeker (Sugar) Bayramı as the emphasis on the first day is on sweet food.
Baklava and şerbet are ever-present; muhallebi (rice pudding) and şeker pare (sweet biscuit) are commonly served. As well as the parade of desserts, there are endless savoury nibbles such as nuts, seeds and pulses.
Baklava and dessert sellers are exempt from the curfew and are offering a takeaway or home delivery service to allow this tradition to continue.
During Ramazan Bayramı it is important to honour the elderly and the younger generation would normally visit the older ones. Kissing the right hand of the elderly and placing it on the forehead is a custom to show respect and greet them for Bayram.
Another tradition is of children going around in their neighbourhood, from door to door and wishing people a happy Bayram. As a reward, they receive candies, chocolates, or even a small amount of money. Another tradition that can’t happen this year!
“Ramazan Bayramınız Mübarek Olsun”
Whilst many people will be spending Eid away from loved ones for the first time ever, we should take comfort in the fact that these are extraordinary circumstances that will, perhaps, never be repeated.
This article was first published on 25 May 2020