On the longest day of the northern hemisphere’s year, hundreds of revellers gathered at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to watch the sun rise. Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site which has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Summer Solstice for thousands of years. It is seen by many as a sacred site.
Sunset over Fethiye
Whilst the sun set on the summer solstice, the longest day, Muslims around the world were getting ready to celebrate a very special night in Islam.
27th night of Ramadan – Kadir Gecesi (Qadr)
The 27th night of Ramadan is called Kadir Gecesi, the Night of Power.
It’s the night on which the first verses of the Koran are believed to have been revealed to Prophet Muhammed in Mecca in the year 610 AD.
The anniversary of that night or the birthday of the Koran, became the holiest moment in the Muslim calendar (Kadir Gecesi).
You really have to see it to experience the surreal feeling of the age old sema being performed in this modern shopping centre.
They glide effortlessly in circles, their white robes rising and falling, thinking all the while of their act as a bridge from God to earth.
This week also sees the end of Ramazan.
Ramazan Bayramı (Eid-al-Fitr)
Ramazan Bayramı (Ramazan Feast) is a three day holiday that marks the end of Ramazan. It’s a time for visiting relatives and paying one’s respect to older people. Many Türks give away sweets and desserts during the festival (you may have noticed shops and supermarkets piled high with all sorts of sweets and chocolate)
Şeker Bayramı (Sugar Feast)
Ramazan Bayramı has an alternative name in Turkey, Şeker Bayramı (the Sugar Feast), because people treat their guests to sweets and traditional desserts during the festival.
It is customary to visit one’s relatives, especially older ones, and kiss their hand as a sign of respect. Children may go door-to-door, kissing hands of the grown-ups and receiving sweets and small amounts of money in return.
Things you should know
Ramazan Bayramı starts on the eve of Saturday 24 June (Arefe) The call to prayer at sunset marks the end of Ramazan.
Banks, offices, businesses and some shops will be closed until the 28th June.
Many people travel to the coastal resorts during the holiday so we can expect the area to be very busy over the next few days.
People greet each other by saying Bayramınız Kutlu/Mubarek Olsun, meaning “May Your Feast Be Blessed”. If you’re new to the Turkish language it is perfectly acceptable to say İyi Bayramlar (Ee-ee bay-ram-lar) meaning literally Good Holidays