August 14, 2011

Spending Ramadan or Ramazan in Turkey - August 2011

Approximately the entire month of August 2011 Muslims are celebrating Ramadan.

 It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eatingdrinking and sexual intimacy with their partners[1] during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God. Muslims fast for the sake of God (Arabicالله‎, trans: Allah) and to offer more prayer than usual. Compared to the solar calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary, moving backwards by about eleven days each yeardepending on the moon. Muslims believe Ramadan to be an auspicious month for the revelations of God to humankind, being the month in which the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Islamic prophetMuhammad.

Ramadan in Turkish is called RamaZan.  From what I have observed and heard, not a lot of Turks are fasting. I even overheard someone say, fasting from dawn to sunset in August, approximately 15 hours is not doable so they don't even try.

But I do see people eating Iftars..

Muslims all around the world will abstain from food and drink, through fasting, from dawn to sunset. At sunset, the family will gather the fast-breaking meal known as Iftar

Every restaurant we to go for dinner, seems to have a Iftar meal or buffet. Right now, the Iftar starts around 8:20pm.

Having observed my first week of Ramadan in Dubai, UAE, I have some comparisons to make with Ramazan in Turkey:
- Turkish people don't seem to be fasting as much as the Emiratis
- There is a drummer that wakes up the people before dawn to make sure to eat. The drummer goes around during the day and night asking for tips for this service. I almost got a picture but he got away. I later heard one Saturday night and they even rang the door bell asking for tips, we told him to be quiet please because our baby was sleeping. I also read an unfortunate recent story about a drummer being stabbed by an angry drunken resident.
- Apparently, Turkish women participate in Friday prayers. I don't know much about this but this isn't common in other Muslim countries.

Ok that is what I have for now...

Update: 8/15/2011 - Last night about 2:45am a drummer was drumming down the road next to where we are staying.  Some of the articles I read think this tradition is obsolete now that we have alarm clocks. 

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