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Ramadan Feast in Turkey

Ramadan Feast in Turkey, National Holiday

Ramadan Feast in Turkey, during this three day celebration the flow of life changes drastically. For locals it means holiday since schools, government offices, banks and even the private establishments are closed for three and a half days starting from noon the eve (arife) of the holiday. Arife is the day to get ready for the holiday.

People clean their houses, they go shopping for candies and chocolate, they prepare traditional pastries like baklava, get a haircut and perform similar personal maintenance. It is important to look dashing with recently, special for the occasion purchased clothes. This attire is called bayramlık.

Illuminated Blue Mosque saying: Sevelim sevilelim ‘Let us love, Let us be loved’ by Yunus Emre (a Turkish poet and Sufi mystic).

It is strictly forbidden to fast the first day of the holiday, so a light breakfast is recommended as a sign of not fasting that day. Then, as a prophetic tradition, the obligatory charity (Sadaqat-ul-fitr), is paid to the poor and the needy. Afterwards, the men perform the Bayram (Eid) prayer in their neighborhood mosques. The rest of the three days people visit relatives and friends, and may also go to the graveyards to pay their respect to the deceased.

During the Ramadan Feast it is important to honor the elderly; therefore mostly the younger generation 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 the bayram. People greet each other by saying Bayramınız Kutlu/Mübarek Olsun, meaning “May Your Feast Be Blessed”.

One of my personal favorites of the Ramadan Feast is the tradition of children going around in their neighborhood, from door to door and wishing people a happy bayram in Turkey. As a reward, they receive candies, chocolates, or even a small amount of money. It makes the streets even busier with cheerful gangs of kids running around, counting their revenues.

Public Life
The Ramadan Feast is an official holiday that continues for three days in Turkey. Administration buildings, schools and most businesses are closed during this period. Public transport may run less frequently, and fares are usually lower compared to regular days. Highways may be overcrowded, especially in the morning of the first day and in the afternoon of the last day of the Ramadan Feast, as many people travel on these days.

Background
The Ramadan Feast is the first day of Shawwal, which is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. Each month in the Islamic calendar begins with the first sighting of the new moon. As a result, the exact dates of the Ramadan Feast change every year, according to the Gregorian calendar. Celebrating the Ramadan Feast after a month of fasting is one of the earliest and most important traditions of Islam.

Symbols
The symbols of the Ramadan Feast include:

-A new moon.
-Sweets or traditional desserts.
-A cup of Turkish tea or coffee.

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