Celebrating Eid Holidays in Turkey – Expat Guide

Created : 29 Apr 2022
Bayram

By Justin Mays:

Muslims celebrate two Eid holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The majority of the Turkish population is Muslim and traces of celebrating these holidays is evident in every province. This blog will describe the meaning of these holidays and how Moslems celebrate them with their families and friends. 

Eid al-Fitr is the most awaited holiday after a month of fasting, Ramadan, that began on the 2nd of April up to the 1st of May 2022. 

Bayram (In Turkish), also known as Eid al-Fitr, is a celebration primarily focused on family, feasting, and compassion. You might see a lot of donation posters at various places around Turkey inviting you to share what you have with the less privileged. As a non-Muslim foreigner in Turkey, do not be shocked by several people who might approach you requesting donations for their charities.  

Compassion

This Islamic holiday celebration is a season to be joyful. People will greet each other by saying "Bayraminiz Kutlu Olsun!" which means happy holidays. Be gentle and accommodating to everyone you meet, and keep the spirit of compassion in mind. Another Turkish saying goes, "Tatlı yiyelim, tatlı konuşalım," which means, "Let's eat sweet and talk sweet!" 

Talking of eating sweet, do not be surprised when children in your neighborhood knock on your door requesting candy. Keep a handful to share with your neighbors as this is one of the traditions tied to Bayram, which is compared to Halloween, celebrated in western countries. People expect to be served homemade famous Turkish sweets, including baklava and sarma, when visiting. Also, chocolate, candy, and cologne are served.  

Visiting Relates and Friends

This 3-day holiday is a time to visit family and friends. Traditionally, people prefer to visit their oldest relatives, close relatives, and lastly, friends. When visiting old relatives, the younger ones are expected to keep the hand-kissing tradition. The older person could be a relative, a parent, or a teacher. 

The hand kiss demonstrates respect for their age and profession. When an older person holds their hand out towards you, it is a sign that they are anticipating a hand kiss. The reverent person takes it into their right hand, touches the back of the hand with the lips or the chin, and afterward places it shortly to their forehead.  

Shopping

Parents also take this time to buy new clothes for their children before visiting relatives. Some shops will sell their stock, so be on the lookout for great deals in several national malls, including some that have already started announcing upcoming discounts.  

Visiting Resorts

As some businesses will be closed, visit resort towns dotted around Turkey. Make sure you book early and confirm your booking because some facilities are already full. With the perfect weather, you have a lot of activities to do, including visiting beaches, museums, and parks. 

Many tourists have started to flock in for the summer holiday to enjoy the magnificent sandy shoreline of the other resort towns in the Aegean region, relax, and enjoy this holiday with family members. So, prepare your itinerary and make this holiday one to remember. 


Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha is known as Kurban Bayram in Turkey, and it is the feast of sacrifice whereby Muslims celebrate their faith. It is one of the two greatest Muslim Festivals. On this four-day holiday, the believers will commemorate Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael when God ordered him. 

Significance of Eid al-Adha

It marks the culmination of the hajj pilgrimage, rites of mana. It is understood that God gave Abraham a sheep to sacrifice instead of his only son. During this holiday, Muslims celebrate by eating a lot of red meat. 

During Eid al-Adha, everyone gets dressed in their best clothes, and those who afford to sacrifice an entire animal — usually a cow or a sheep, and in some regions, a camel — donate the meat to neighbors and those who are less fortunate so that they can celebrate together.  

Sharing is Caring

The sacrificed animal is called Udiyyah in Arabic, meaning the sacrificed must meet specific criteria, such as age and meat quality. It is divided into three parts: the family keeps one-third; another third is given to relatives, friends, and neighbors; and the last is given to those in need. The reasoning is that no underprivileged person is left without meat during Eid al-Adha. 

The fried liver is served for breakfast, while the rest of the animal constitutes meals for lunch and dinner with different recipes which vary from country to country. In Turkey, the meat is usually served as Kebab, while in the Arab world, mutton is braised with plenty of garlic, cumin, and onion over a slow fire. 

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