Ramadan is a month that we cleanse our bodies and souls from any evil by refraining ourselves from earthly needs like eating, drinking, sleeping… But it also is a month that folks mark with vibrant traditions and celebrations that are unique to their region and culture and are passed through generations.
Would you like to take a look at the Ramadan traditions in one of the most beautiful countries in which millions of Muslims are celebrating Ramadan, Turkey?
- If this will be a list of Ramadan traditions in Turkey it must begin with the Ramadan drummer! It is not easy to wake up in the middle of the night and have suhoor, especially back at the times we technologically could not put all our trust in our alarms. Ramadan drummers, however, walk around the streets, playing their drums and singing unique chansonette and wake people up when it is time for suhoor! You wouldn’t believe how young members of the family get up excitedly unlike mornings of the other eleven months. To give their thanks to the drummers, people throw tips down from their windows.
2. Ramadan is sparkling, inside and out in Turkey! All the mosques are decorated with mahyas, that is lettering or painting created with lamps or electric bulbs on ropes stretched between two minarets of mosques and are illuminated at night. Mahyas generally form a hadith or a known saying to remind people of good things, and manners. When the time for iftar comes, mahyas are illuminated brightly and everybody tries to read what’s written on it, in a captivated way.
3. But, what do Turkish people eat at iftars? The answer is Ramadan pita! It’s called pide in Turkish and is actually a round flatbread. But it is baked in the bakeries only in Ramadan and is served hot right before the iftar. Dads go to the bakery with kids earlier to get their place in the gonna-be-long line while moms cook for iftar. Who knows which is tastier; pide or waiting in the line impatiently counting the minutes to the iftar.
4. Ok, we filled our stomachs with pide and delicious food at iftar, after a long day. Don’t you feel like you need some sweet to put the cherry on the cake? Ottoman paste, Macun (Majoun), comes right here! It is a sweet, pasty candy in rainbow colors and different flavors. After iftar, when you go out to walk off the dinner and enjoy the beautiful Ramadan festivities, macun would be the perfect accompaniment!
5. You took a good walk and want to take a rest before going back home? Watching Hacivat Karagöz, that is a traditional shadow play, would be a great rest and a sight for your sleepy eyes. Karagöz and Hacivat are two buddies having adventures together in their small but cozy village. The colorful costumes of the characters, refined jokes and funny clumsiness makes the play nonesuch!
These and many more Ramadan practices are still alive and are being enjoyed in Turkey, being passed from one generation to another. These deeply rooted customs and traditions of Ramadan present themselves as identifiable characteristics of specific Muslim communities around the world.
What kind of traditions do you have in your culture? How do you treasure Ramadan in your country or home? Please share with us in the comments below!
May Allah accept all your prayers in Ramadan!