Tomorrow is the first day of one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar, known in Turkish as Kurban Bayramı – the festival of the sacrifice. This is the third time Kurban Bayramı has occurred since we started Turkey’s for Life, but each time the festival occurs, there is always something different we can write about our personal experience of this special time.
We’re an English couple living in Fethiye; a small city where many nationalities other than Turkish are resident. There are no Turks in our family, so why would Kurban Bayram have any effect on our lives? Well, while we fully appreciate the message and the sentiment behind this important festival, we’ll always be observers from the outside. As always, the only thing we can truly tell you about in this blog is our experience.
Our first article about Kurban Bayram was about our observations along Fethiye harbour on the first day of Kurban Bayramı; promenading families enjoying their time together in their new, perhaps-not-always-appreciated clothes. It reminded me of my childhood Easter!
Our second post considered the Islamic lunar calendar. We realised that, over the next few years, Kurban Bayramı will creep closer and closer towards the summer months and depending on the economy, many families (certainly in Western Turkey) will opt to spend their festival by the beach or in luxury all-inclusive hotels. Whatever people’s views on this (it’s certainly a move away from tradition) it’s no doubt going to give a huge boost to domestic tourism in Turkey and therefore to the Turkish economy. Interesting times ahead.
So what about the effect of Kurban Bayram on our Fethiye lives in November 2011 and what is the relevance of the two photographs in the post? Well today, we’ve enjoyed our first ever visit to a different Fethiye market: Patlangıç Pazarı. Usually, we go to our local Çalış Pazarı every Sunday…except we (thankfully) remembered yesterday that Sunday is the first day of Kurban Bayram. No market! Aaarrgggh, no food!
Of course, we could have survived the 4-day festival by nipping into the Fethiye supermarkets during their reduced opening hours but we decided to be troopers and make the trek to the Saturday Patlangıç market. We’re glad we did! I don’t know if it was just the change of scenery but we enjoyed our little stroll around the seasonal fruit and vegetables today. Despite the trek, we’ll be regulars over winter.
What made us smile though was the other shoppers. Hey, it’s the day before families descend on each other’s homes for greetings and food. It was like Christmas Eve in Asda! We’ve never seen so many bulging carrier bags. How many onions can one person possibly need? (You can never have too many it appears.) Some stall holders were doing a fantastic job at multi-tasking while others were getting a bit flustered – carrier bags being thrown to customers, money being passed, change being given, customers waving full bags of goods wanting them to be weighed NOW, other customers shouting, ‘____ ne kadar?’ (How much are ____?’
And we wanted to say, ‘Give the guy a minute. You can see he’s obviously very busy.’ But tomorrow is the day of the sacrifice, the day people think of and share with others less fortunate themselves, when much food is prepared in Turkish homes…and again we related events to our own experiences and remembered Asda on Christmas Eve. Every man for themselves…
Kurban Bayramınız kutlu olsun!