The Sultan of 11 Months: Ramadan in Turkey
Ebru Ergeneli, Turkish by origin, joined our company in November 2015 as Assistant to the Managing Director at our facility in Istanbul, Turkey. Having been born in Germany, Ebru returned to Istanbul in 1984, where she has been living ever since.
Ümit Çelik, also Turkish, has been with LSG Sky Chefs as a Purchasing Supervisor in Istanbul since February 2016. He is originally from Kutahya, Turkey.
The Sultan of 11 Months: “Ramadan and Eid”
We would like to tell you a little about the traditions and events surrounding Ramadan in Turkey. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and that means that during the month of Ramadan, we do not to eat or drink from early morning until time for our evening prayer. By doing this, it teaches us the difficulties and pains experienced by other people who suffer from hunger. At the same time, we learn to exercise the sovereignty of our souls.
During Ramadan, we believe that you need to avoid all kinds of evil. The “Eid Al-Fıtr“, which is celebrated in the end of Ramadan, is the time when we reconcile of all kinds of bitternesses and disillusionments.
Before Ramadan actually begins, families have already started collecting all necessary food items and begun to prepare for the month ahead. Large companies distrubute various food items to their employees and humanitarian aid agencies prepare food packages for the poor. Many charities set up tents in public areas to provide special, free “iftar meals” – the meal that people eat at the end of that day’s fast.
In the evening, you can see many people waiting in front of ovens and bakeries to buy “pide” (a kind of bread), which is special for Ramadan. Of course, dessert is also important. After a nice dinner, the most popular desserts are Güllaç and Baklava. We accompany our meals with water and different water-based drinks, like compote, to make sure we’re well hydrated.
During the entire month of Ramadan, we have to make sure to avoid heavy, salty and fatty meals. Throughout the month, families are organizing dinners for their relatives and many visits are made during the Eid. Thanks to these dinners, you have the chance to taste many traditional dishes and visit with your family members. Ramadan is very important time in terms of family ties.
Of course, Ramadan is primarily a religious holiday. The mosques are more crowded and enthusiastic than the other months. All throughout the month, you find yourself awaiting the drum sounds from outside that signal the beginning of the day’s fast.
In tourist destinations, you can also watch the traditional shadow play “Hacıvat and Karagöz” after dinner and have the opportunity to participate in many different events.
The “Eid Al-Fıtr” Festival
At the end of the month of Ramadan, we celebrate one of our most important festivals, “Eid Al-Fıtr”, which lasts three days.
It’s a tradition to prepare by buying many products, such cologne, sugar and new clothes, before the Eid. During the time of the celebration, we always give money or sugar to hand-kissing children.
During our traditional visits with family and friends, we usually prefer to eat delicous snacks rather than meals, like olive-leave wrapped “Zeytinyağlı sarma”, various pies, meat over rice and many sweets.
To many happy Eids,
Ebru Ergeneli and Ümit Celik