Turkey to take measures against COVID-19 during Ramadan
Turkey’s Interior Ministry issued a circular this week on measures that will be taken against the novel coronavirus during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Events, as well as tents where people gather to break their fast, will not be allowed.
The ministry said all necessary precautions will be taken when the fast begins in the morning and when the fast ends in the evening to maintain social distancing outdoors.
The temporary closure of streets that may be crowded during these times will be evaluated on a case-to-case basis.
The ministry said all necessary precautions will be taken during iftar and sahur – the meal before starting to fast — to maintain social distancing outdoors.
The selling time of pide – a traditional round and flat bread generally consumed during the fasting month – will be terminated two hours before iftar in order to prevent crowds from gathering at bakeries. Production, sales and other preparation processes will continue in bakeries after iftar hours.
Marketplaces will also be controlled to ensure that citizens follow social distancing rules and wear medical face masks.
Social distancing will also be enforced among visitors to cemeteries on the eve of and during Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of the fasting month, and officials will take their temperatures.
Whilst these measures are in place during this year’s Ramazan, the principles of this holy month remain the same. Devout muslims all over Turkey, and the world, will still be honoring this pillar of the Muslim faith …from their homes.
All about Ramazan
Ramazan (Ramadan) is the holy month of Islam. In this period the holy book Quran was sent to Muhammed. And in the Quran, those who are not sick or travelling are ordered to honour and fast during these 30 days.
When is Ramazan?
This year Ramazan (Ramadan) begins on the evening of Friday April 24 and ends on the evening of Saturday May 23. Because of the lunar calendar, the start of Ramazan moves backwards by about eleven days each year.
What is Ramazan?
People, and certainly non-Muslims, associate this holy month purely with fasting (oruç). But Ramazan is more than that. Keeping Ramazan is one of the five pillars (basic duties) of the Muslim faith.
It is intended to bring Muslims closer to God and teach them about patience, spirituality, and humility. Hence the fasting, to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. It also teaches Muslims to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate and encourage actions of generosity and charity.
Fasting is the religious duty of all Muslims and it means not letting anything pass or even touch the lips. Starting from the twilight before sunrise (the first call to prayer) until the twilight after sunset, no food, drink, tobacco smoke, chewing gum or any other thing that involves the mouth is allowed.
Some people are exempt from fasting: children until the age of puberty, pregnant women, travellers, the elderly and people that are chronically ill.
During Ramadan, Muslims wake up well before dawn to eat the pre-dawn meal or sehri. This is the most important meal during Ramazan since it has to last until sunset. This means eating lots of high-protein foods and drinking as much water as possible right up until dawn, after which you can’t eat or drink anything.
The day of fasting is over at sunset. The exact minute that it’s ok to eat is signalled by the fourth call to prayer at dusk. Hungry people may start the evening with a light snack. This light meal, consisting of freshly-baked Ramazan pide bread, pickled vegetables, olives and other easily-prepared edibles is often enjoyed in a group with family members and/or friends.
More elaborate dinners are normally held later in the evening or night, but some people just go for it right from the start.
Even though many Turks don’t fast for Ramazan, they are sensitive to those who are fasting around them. As a visitor, it’s best to be considerate by not eating in public during daylight, especially in rural areas of more traditional cities. Be patient with the hungry Turks you encounter – fasters can be a bit on the grumpy side.
Some restaurants which normally serve alcoholic beverages may not do so during Ramazan.
Those who want be kind to someone fasting in Ramadan may say or greet with “Ramadan Mubarak” (“Hayırlı Ramazanlar” in Turkish), meaning “Have a blessed Ramadan.”
Celebrate with the locals
Various events take place during Ramazan so keep your eyes (and ears) open when you’re out and about in the evenings. Join in the festivities to celebrate the holy month with local people.
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).
This year, Kadir Gecesi falls on May 19/20, beginning at sunset in the evening and lasting until the following evening:
Click here to read more about Kadir Gecesi
Ramazan Bayramı (Şeker Bayramı)
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, the Ramazan Feast will begin on Sunday May 24 and end on Tuesday May 26*.
*As yet, we have no details as to whether this holiday will be extended as in previous years.