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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Turkey Series at TurkishClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Turkish holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 5 - Ramadan Feast. In Turkish, it’s called Ramazan Bayramı.
The Ramadan feast in Turkey is also commonly known as Sugar Feast, or Ş eker Bayramı. It’s celebrated for three days after a fast that lasts for a month. It's celebrated at different times each year according to the Islamic Calendar, or hicri takvim, which is a lunar calendar. The day before the feast is called the Eve, in Turkish Arife, and it's officially a short work day.
In this episode, we will learn the general meaning of the Ramadan feast and how to celebrate it according to Turkish traditions.
Now, before we get into more detail, we’ve got a question for you-
In Turkey, the Ramadan feast is also called Sugar Feast by the public. What is the source of this name and why is it controversial?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast. The food that is eaten by Muslims before dawn during the month of Ramadan is called sahur. Since the time of "sahur" always varies in the Islamic Calendar, it's announced to the public in the streets by the so-called Ramadan drummers, or ramazan davulcusu. The food eaten at the end of the daily Ramadan fast at sunset is called iftar. In Istanbul, the end of the fasting is announced by a cannon being shot in Sultanahmet Square accompanied by a call to prayer. Domestic authorities install iftar tents in crowded squares for the public’s benefit.
Men perform ritual prayers in the mosques during the first day of Ramadan. After the prayer, a sermon, called hutbe takes place.
Afterward, families begin the festivities. These generally include visits with close relatives and friends, and the visitors are typically given cologne and rose juice by the host. In some houses, the host also gives liquor with chocolate, Turkish delight, or lokum, and almond toffee. At the homes of close relatives, a day-long feast is usually held.
On the day of the feast, waking up early is a tradition. It's important to be clean, so men visit the hairdresser before the feast. Families buy presents for each other – for example, new clothes, called bayramlık, or other items. Family elders give pocket money, or bayram harçlığı, to the younger children in the family, who come to visit their elders and show their respect by kissing their elders’ hands. Children will typically continue this tradition until they turn 18. Kids also visit each door in the neighborhood and collect candies from their neighbors.
During Sugar Feast, family elders give money to the kids enclosed inside napkins. This is a tradition to avoid the children being embarrassed by receiving money in plain sight.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
In Turkey, the Ramadan feast is also called Sugar Feast by the public. What is the source of this name and why is it controversial?
It’s controversial because the word "sugar" does not reflect the religious value of the feast. The origin of this is that, "sugar", şeker, and "gratitude", şükür, in Ottoman have a very similar spelling. Also, fasting is considered as showing gratitude to God, so this feast was also called Gratitude Feast, or Ş ükür Bayramı. Later, as the number of mobile merchants selling candies grew, the name of the feast colloquially came to be "Sugar Feast".
So listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What is served to visitors during religious feasts in your country?
Leave us a comment letting us know at TurkishClass101.com. And we'll see you in the next lesson!