Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Eid ul-Fitr in Turkey

In Turkey, where Ramadan celebrations are infused with more national traditions, and where country-wide celebrations, are referred to as Bayram. It is customary for people to greet one another with "Bayramınız Kutlu Olsun" or "Bayramınız Mübarek Olsun" ("May Your Bayram Be Holy"). "Mutlu Bayramlar" ("Happy Bayram") is an alternative phrase for celebrating Bayram.

Referred to as both Şeker Bayramı ("Bayram of Sweets") or Ramazan Bayramı ("Ramadan Bayram"), Eid in Turkey is a public holiday, where schools and government offices are generally closed for the entire period of the celebrations.

It is a time for people to attend prayer services, put on their best clothes (referred to as "Bayramlık", often purchased just for the occasion) and to visit all their loved ones (such as friends, relatives and neighbors) and pay their respects to the deceased with organized visits to cemeteries, where large, temporary bazaars of flowers, water (for watering the plants adorning a grave), and prayer books are set up for the three-day occasion. The first day of the Bayram is generally regarded as the most important, with all members of the family waking up early, and the men going to their neighborhood mosque for the special Bayram prayer.

It is regarded as especially important to honor elderly citizens by kissing their right hand and placing it on one's forehead while wishing them Bayram greetings. It is also customary for young children to go around their neighborhood, door to door, and wish everyone a happy Bayram, for which they are awarded candy, chocolates, traditional sweets such as Baklava and Turkish Delight, or a small amount of money at every door, in an almost Halloween-like fashion.

Municipalities all around the country organize fundraising events for the poor, in addition to public shows such as concerts or more traditional forms of entertainment such as the Karagöz and Hacivat shadow-theatre and even performances by the Mehter - the Janissary Band that was founded during the days of the Ottoman Empire.

Helping the less fortunate, ending past animosities and making up, organizing breakfasts and dinners for loved ones and putting together neighborhood celebrations are all part of the occasion, where homes and streets are decorated and lit up for the celebrations, and television and radio channels continuously broadcast a variety of special Bayram programs, which include movie specials, musical programming and celebratory addresses from celebrities and politicians alike.


See also: Idul Fitri, Hamper Hari Raya, Hari Raya Hampers

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