- Posted October 25, 2012 by
Wednesday 24 to Sunday 28 of October, is The Republic of Turkey’s 4.5 day Islamic holiday, commemorating the highly religious period of ‘Kurban Bayrami’.
Direct translation, ‘Sacrifice Festival’.
“Pray to your Lord and make a sacrifice” is instituted by the Qur’an.
Muslims celebrate the festival worldwide and it is often called ‘Eid al-Adha’, the label changes with the dialect but the tradition is constant.
It is important to understand the tradition and the effect.
The tradition was born to honour the Prophet Ibrahim who was willing to sacrifice his son Ishmael through faith in Allah.
Tradition involves Morning Prayer, then the meticulous and sometimes decorative sacrifice ritual.
The animal, which must be one year old and without defect, at times with it’s horns and hooves dyed, can be painted in henna and adorned with ribbons. Is bound, calmed, a prayer is spoken; the throat is cut, at times the blood filling a hole created in the earth. An incision is made between the hooves to gauge reaction and insure the process is complete. The body is then hung by a small height, skinned, gutted and prepared for the feast.
2/3 of the animal is shared between relatives and neighbours, and 1/3 to the impoverished. Distributing the animal, feasting and prayer consume the next few days.
The effect in Turkey is a highly mobile nation. People are on the streets meeting with friends and relatives, public transport is at capacity, cars block even the minor roads in populated areas.
Using the term ‘festival’ can be misleading, as the undercurrent during the ritual is predominantly solemn. The importance of prayer and meat being available to those who could not usually afford it is emphasized. Families welcome strangers into the ritual, it is an intimate yet forthcoming time; people are in good spirits.
In contrast to the sacrifice ritual there is a carnival atmosphere during the feast. The Durmus family of Pamukkale invited me into their home to share in their Kurban Bayrami feast. The family were welcoming and generous.
The Turkish community take great care of the poor during this period; in most villages, there is an allocated square, central in location for the distribution of the meat. There is a list for who receives it. The affluent ensure even those not on the list get their share.
The 4.5-day duration is recognised as a public holiday; stores, administration and government buildings are either closed or run on holiday schedule.