Kurban Bayramı, Eid al-Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice, which occurs 70 days after the end of Ramazan, is a spectacular day of slaughter and feasting throughout the Muslim world.

Eid al-Adha, which marks the end of the hajj and the second most important religious festivity after Eid al-Fitr, was planned to officially start on Saturday July 09 and end on Tuesday July 12.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on June 28 that there would be a holiday on Wednesday July 13 and Thursday July 14. Friday July 15 is Democracy and National Unity Day, making it a nine-day public holiday, including the two weekends.

Millions of people are expected to hit the roads to flock to Turkey’s coastal provinces or their hometowns for the nine-day holiday.

Government offices, post offices, banks and some supermarkets will be closed during the holiday.

What is the Feast of Sacrifice?

The Feast of Sacrifice is one of the oldest Islamic holidays in Turkey. It commemorates the story (which appears in both the Koran and the Bible) of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) who showed obedience to God by agreeing to sacrifice his son. Once God (Allah) saw his faith he spared the boy and sent him a ram to be sacrificed instead.

Victory Day and the Feast of Sacrifice
Abraham ready to sacrifice his son

What do people do?

Traditionally, on the first day of the Feast, men of each family go to a mosque for a special morning prayer. Then the sacrifice ritual begins. Male, healthy, robust animals are preferred, not only because they’re bigger but also because it is considered great misfortune to kill a pregnant beast.

Victory Day and the Feast of Sacrifice
Male, healthy, robust animals are preferred. Photo by Lyn Ward.

A halal prayer is recited before the animal is slaughtered and the atmosphere is solemn and respectful.

Families share about two-thirds of the animal’s meat with relatives and neighbours, and they traditionally give about one-third to the poor. This is one of the most important aspects of Kurban Bayramı and many poor families rely upon Kurban charity.

Victory Day and the Feast of Sacrifice

The first meal with the Kurban meat is cooked quickly and simply and eaten reverently.

Victory Day and the Feast of Sacrifice
Kurban Bayramı – The first meat is cooked quickly and eaten reverently

In recent years, some Turkish people started making donations to charitable organizations instead of sacrificing animals. Many people in Turkey take special care to help the poor during the Sacrifice Feast.

People usually wear their best clothes during the Sacrifice Feast. They welcome guests to their homes or visit relatives or friends during the holiday. Many people in Turkey reserve the first day of the feast for visiting their closest relatives. Young people greet their older relatives and neighbours by kissing their hand as a sign of respect.

If you find yourself in Turkey during Kurban Bayramı, the chances are that you will not actually see the sacrifice of animals unless you head off to the rural areas.

How do I wish someone a happy Eid al-Adha?

Much like other religious celebrations, it is customary to send messages and well wishes to family and friends during Eid al-Adha.

To wish someone a happy Eid, you can simply say “Eid Mubarak”, which means you are wishing them a “blessed Eid.”

Here are a few other ways you can greet people during Kurban Bayramı (Eid al-Adha)

“Kurban Bayramınız kutlu olsun” – Have a happy Feast of Sacrifice
“Kurban Bayramınız mübarek olsun” – Have a blessed Feast of Sacrifice

Or the easiest one to remember…
“Iyi bayramlar” – Happy bayram.

How to cook your Kurban meat

Lamb Kavurma is a Turkish national dish of lamb cooked on Kurban Bayramı.

Here’s an easy recipe for you to make with your Kurban meat.

Roasted Lamb (Kurban Kavurma)

Recipe Box – Meat Dishes – Roasted Lamb (Kurban Kavurma)
Lamb Kavurma -a Turkish national dish of lamb cooked on Kurban Bayramı.


Serves 10

2kg lamb chunks

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon thyme


Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the meat and cook over a medium heat until sizzling. Cover and simmer gently until the meat is cooked (approximately one hour). Turn the meat over occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Add the salt, pepper and thyme and cook for a further 15 minutes

Serve the hot kavurma with a side dish of rice, bulgur salad or vegetables.

Afiyet olsun

“Kurban Bayramınız mübarek olsun” 

Sources: Hürriyet Daily News/World Food Turkey