This evening is the start of Ramazan Bayramı which is the three-day holiday that follows the end of the holy month of Ramazan. Called Eid es-Seghir in many other Muslim countries, Ramazan Bayramı, sometimes called Şeker Bayramı or ‘Sugar Festival’ or ‘Candy Holiday’ starts at sunset on the last day of Ramadam or Ramazan as its called here in Turkey and celebrates the completion of the holy month of fasting. Fasting in Ramadan teaches people to get ready for the bad days (like wars, food or water shortage etc.) and helps them understand how the poor people feel when they have hunger.
The holiday is a time for sending greeting cards to friends and loved ones, paying visits, giving gifts and enjoying a lot of sweets. Everyone enjoys drinking lots of Turkish tea and coffee in broad daylight after the 30 days of daylight fasting during Ramazan. I especialy love the tradition of children knocking on the door to Show off their new clothes in hope of being given sweets or a coin or two and wishing the people who answer the door ‘İyi Bayramlar’ also kissing your hand and then touching their foreheads with it which is a major gesture of respect.
It always amazes me that when being presented with a large dish of sweets the children are ever so polite and only take one and have to be encourage to take more. Thats not to say that they won’t knock on your door every day of the holiday though! And so, we’re sat at home now with a huge plate of sweets looking at us and trying to be strong willed and not eat them ourselves. Well just one won’t hurt …. will it?
As I write, we can also hear the Ramazan Drummers, they’ve spent the last month walking the streets of Kuşadasi, banging their drums to wake the people up to eat before sunrise. Today, they’re walking the streets banging their drums loud and proud as they wish people İyi Bayramlar and hope for a few tips. It’s always nice to finally see the night time drummer in person.
Tomorrow I will spend the day visiting my husbands family some of who still are not used to having a foreigner in their home. They’ll ply me with çay (turkish tea) which is a black tea and is generally not drank in cups or mugs but in special glasses (there must be an art to drinking it without burning your fingers but i have yet to find it), and every sweet thing imaginable!
The children bring their friends to practise their english on me and i get a chance to try out my turkish, the neighbours come by to check out the yabancı (foreigner) and they all make me feel extremely welcome. It’s rather like our Christmas.