Today is the final day of the holy month of Ramazan and tomorrow Turkey will celebrate with a three day Ramazan Bayrami national holiday. We explain what you may see and how you may be involved in this national celebration.
The end of the holy month of Ramazan is marked by a three day national holiday known as the Ramazan Bayrami.
It is also known in Turkey as the Şeker Bayrami – the Sweets Holiday.
In other Muslim countries the holiday is known as Eid al-Fitr.
Today is the ‘eve’ of the Bayram and is known as ‘Arife’.
This year the Bayram starts on Monday 28th July 2014 and continued to Wednesday 30th July 2014.
All banks, most businesses and shops will close for the three days.
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 Wednesday lunchtime.
As being with your family is an important feature of this Bayrami, the roads and public transport facilities will be busy before, during and after the holiday.
The holiday resorts will also be packed as some families make the most of the break to take a holiday.
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. You will also hear the phrase “Iyi Bayramlar!”.
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.
Have a great time – “Iyi Bayramlar!”