Ramazan Bayrami 2016
Ramazan Bayrami will start on the evening of Monday 4th July with Arefe, the eve of Ramazan Bayram.12 ay önce 2.1B
Three days of feasting and celebrating will follow. There is also a public holiday to mark this important time in the Muslim calendar. This year official offices, state banks and organizations will be closed on the 4th, 5th and 6th July and some organisations for longer, in an attempt to boost tourism.
Some people insist on calling this festival Şeker Bayramı or Sugar Holiday, but this is considered a frivolous term for what is, after all, a religious festival.
A time for celebration
Ramazan Bayramı, or Eid-al-Fitr, marks the end of the holy month of Ramazan
This year the Bayram starts 4th July, which is the ‘eve’ of the actual Bayram, and is known as Arife. At sunset on this day the call to prayer will make the end of Ramazan for another year.
What to say
'İyi Bayramlar' is just fine but if you are speaking with observant Muslims try saying, 'Bayramınız Mubarek olsun.'
Closing for Bayram
The full holiday begins on 5th July and carries on until Sunday July. All banks, most businesses and some shops will close for the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and some for longer, especially if the weekends at both ends of the weeks are taken into account.
The big supermarkets don’t close but may open for reduced hours, the details for which will be posted on their doors.
If you have urgent banking business or a bureaucratic process to complete, make sure you do before close of business on the previous Friday, 1st July.
Roads and transport
Being with family is an important feature of this Bayram, so expect the roads and public transport facilities to be very busy from Wednesday night, over the coming weekend and after the holiday.
If you plan on making a journey by plane, bus or train, you could find available seats are limited or even non-existent.
If you stay at home expect the local children to knock on your door to give you ‘Bayram greetings’ which should include kissing your hand and then touching their foreheads with it; a major gesture of respect.
In return they will expect a handful of sweets and, depending on how well you know them, a gift of money.
The latter doesn’t have to be much: start with a shiny one lira coin for the youngest kids and go up to 5YTL for more streetwise Turkish teenagers.
Traditionally the money was presented wrapped in a handkerchief, but these days no one seems to bother about the wrapping.
Shops are loaded up with big bags of inexpensive sweets so make sure you stock up.
As Ramazan Bayram is all about coming together and eating special food to mark the end of the fast, do make a point of accepting invitations that may come from your Turkish neighbours.