Next week sees the end of the holy month of Ramadan – Eid-al-Fitr. In Turkey, Eid is known as Ramazan Bayramı and is celebrated with three days of feasting.
Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Fitr with prayers called “Salat Al Eid” in Arabic. There is no audible call to prayer for the Eid prayers. Muslims will gather in mosques or open spaces and offer two units of prayer – called “Rakat”. The prayers are followed by a sermon, in which the imam asks for forgiveness, mercy, and peace for every being across the world.
It’s a tradition to wear new clothes and on the way to the mosque, eat something sweet such as a date, and recite a small prayer called a takbeer.
For many Muslims, Eid al-Fitr is a festival to show gratitude to Allah for the help and strength he gave them throughout the month of Ramadan to help them practice self-control.
Other key elements of the Eid celebrations are giving money to the poor (known as ‘Zakat al-Fitr’, the amount to be given depends on the possessions someone has), sending Eid greetings and spending time with families.
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.
It’s also a time of reflection, with many families visiting the graves of those no longer around to share in the feasting.
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.
Many Türks also give away sweets and desserts (you may have noticed shops and supermarkets piled high with all sorts of sweets and chocolate)
The emphasis on the first day is on sweet food. Baklava and şerbet are ever-present; muhallebi (rice pudding) and şeker pare (sweet biscuit) are commonly served. As well as the parade of desserts, there are endless savoury nibbles such as nuts, seeds, and pulses.
Things you should know
This year, Ramazan Bayramı will begin on Monday, May 2, 2022 and end on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.
During the three days of Ramazan Bayramı, government offices, schools, post offices, banks, and some supermarkets will be closed.
Traveling in Turkey on the first and last days of Ramazan can be very hectic and roads are busy as everyone either heads to their family home or escapes to a hotel/beach.
How should you greet people?
The phrase commonly used by Muslims as a greeting on this day is “Eid Mubarak”, which is Arabic for ‘blessed festival’. The proper response to Eid Mubarak is “Khair Mubarak”, which wishes goodness on the person who has greeted you.
People also greet each other by saying “Bayramınız Kutlu 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“.