As the sun sets on the final day of the holy month of Ramadan (Ramazan in Turkish), the people of Turkey start to celebrate Ramazan Bayramı.
It is a three day holiday that marks the end of month long fasting and contemplation – the end of Ramadan.
It is one of the many public holidays in Turkey and it is celebrated around the country.
This means many people are on holiday from work and happy!
This, in turn, means banks, post offices and public offices are closed during this time. So prepare in advance if you’re going to need any of these services.
How Is Ramazan Bayramı Celebrated?
Ramazan Bayramı is a time for family members to do the rounds and visit each other. Social gatherings, new clothes (Bayramlık), the sharing of food, charitable donations, prayers at the mosque…and sweets!
In the days leading up to the end of Ramazan, supermarkets and sweet stalls of the local markets are loaded with sweets and boxes of chocolates for people to buy in preparation.
Whilst the Islamic holiday is a three day festival, Ramazan Bayramı in Turkey can be longer.
Depending on which days the Turkish Ramazan festival falls, a longer holiday will sometimes be declared.
For example, if the festival lands on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, the government might also add the Thursday and the Friday so that most people (depending on the job they do) get a 9 day holiday.
During the eve of the festival, preparations are made (arife).
In Turkish households, special foods are prepared, including various Turkish desserts.
People are out, cleaning their windows. Vacuum cleaners can be heard working overtime around the salon floors and furniture of neighbourhood dwellings.
Homes are made (even more) spotless for the arrival of visitors!
Elsewhere, local municipalities will get to work to deep clean mosques for Eid prayers. And they’ll clean up graveyards. Lots of families will visit the graves of loved ones during the festival.
The Children & The Sweets
Although Ramazan Bayramı is perhaps more commonly used, these days, this festival is also known as Şeker Bayramı (Sugar Festival).
And it is a bit of a sugar feast.
In our neighbourhood, at least, it isn’t quite as common as it used to be. But this is the holiday where children traditionally walk the streets in their new clothes, knocking on doors around the neighbourhoods.
The person answering the door is greeted with an “Iyi Bayramlar” (Happy Festival) from the children. And then the household gifts the children some sweets.
The kids who do come round; they’re wise as to who gives out the best sweety treats and they make a beeline for those doorbells first.
Of course, some older children who are not quite so bothered about walking around with a pocketful of sweets prefer it if, when they go to visit family or close friends, they’re treated to a few Turkish Lira!
We’ve all been there!
Many is the Easter where, as a kid, I hoped for a few quid from grandparents instead of an Easter egg!
And, for us adults, when you’re paying for goods in shops or local restaurants, for example, owners often have a bowl of boiled sweets or lokum (Turkish delight) on the counter for you to help yourself to.
Travel During Ramazan Bayramı
If you are visiting Turkey and intending on travelling around, it’s really worth knowing when both Ramazan Bayramı and Kurban Bayramı (Eid al-Adha – Feast of Sacrifice) fall.
As with Ramadan, they follow the lunar calendar and fall around 11 days earlier each year.
As both are national holidays and a time for visiting family, many Turkish people will be travelling to different areas of the country.
When the festival falls during the warmer months, lots of turkish families will head off on holiday on special Bayram deals.
This will be to domestic resorts like Fethiye or to the all inclusive hotels of Antalya.
And Turkish tour operators will also advertise Bayram breaks elsewhere, especially when the festival falls during the warmer months.
In the run up to Ramazan Bayramı and at the end of the festival, expect heavy traffic on the roads.
Domestic flights and intercity buses will also be booked up so make sure you book in advance if you are travelling during this time.
The Ramadan holiday is a great time to be in the country, though, because of the festive atmosphere.
Museums, sites and some restaurants will close for the first day of the holiday to give staff the opportunity to visit family. But most will open after that first day.
Local municipality public transport is also free in many towns and cities, too, so you can save yourself a few lira, getting around.
Ramazan Bayramı Greetings
And, if you are travelling during the festival time, it’s always nice to be able to pass on your festival greetings to those you speak to.
Just like those who work over the Christmas and Easter holidays – for example, waiters, bartenders, shopkeepers, bus drivers – are all working through a period when others are enjoying Ramazan Bayramı holidays.
We like to make sure we pass on Bayram greetings as we arrive at, or leave, a place.
- İyi Bayramlar (Ee-yee By-ramm-larr) Happy Festival. This is the easiest greeting and one that is universally used. We use this greeting all the time when speaking with people.
- Ramazan Bayramınız Kutlu Olsun / Şeker Bayramınız Kutlu Olsun – Let your Ramazan / Sugar Festival be happy. This is usually used on greeting cards and other written messages.
- Ramazan Bayramınız Mübarek Olsun – Let your Ramazan Festival be blessed.
And so, to anyone reading who is celebrating Ramazan Bayramı or Eid, let us wish you Iyi Bayramlar – Eid Mubarak!