The Seker Bayrami public holiday is a celebration of the end of the holy month of fasting called Ramazan and takes place between midday on Monday 29th August to Thursday 1st September.
The end of the holy month of Ramazan is marked by Şeker Bayrami – the Sweets Holiday as it has always been traditionally known in Turkey. In other Muslim countries the holiday is known as Eid al-Adha.
Latterly there have been moves to change this name, presumably as it is seen to be frivolous and does not reflect the religious reasons for its existence.
So the Bayram is now officially known as Ramazan Bayram although most people still call it Seker Bayram.
This year the Bayram starts on Monday 29th August which is the ‘eve’ of the actual Bayram known as ‘arife’. The full holiday, when all banks ,most businesses and shops will close, begins on Tuesday and lasts through to Thursday.
The good news is the big supermarkets don’t close but open for reduced hours which will be posted on their doors.
If you have urgent banking business or a bureaucratic process to complete, make sure you do it before Monday lunchtime.
As being with your family is an important feature of this Bayrami, the roads and public transport facilities will be busy over the coming weekend and after the holiday. So if you plan on making a journey by plane, bus or train, you could find available seats are limited or even non-existent.
If you stay at home expect the local children to knock on your door to give you ‘Bayrami greetings’ which should include kissing your hand and then touching their foreheads with it which is a major gesture of respect.
In return they will expect a handful of sweets and, depending on how well you know them, a gift of money.
The latter doesn’t have to be much: start with a shiny one lira coin for the youngest kids and go up to 5YTL for middle class Turkish teenagers.
Traditionally the money was presented wrapped in a handkerchief, but these days no-one seems to bother about the wrapping.
Shops are loaded up with big bags of inexpensive sweets so make sure you stock up.
As the Bayrami is all about eating special food to mark the end of the Ramazan fast, do accept any invitations that may come from your Turkish neighbours.
This could be the only chance you’ll ever have to eat Baklava, and many other Turkish sweets, actually handmade at home.