This holiday is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice. This is a very important Islamic holiday which celebrates willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his first-born son Ishmael. The sacrifice was not completed as God intervened and had Abraham sacrifice a ram instead. To celebrate people usually a set of new clothes, dress up and visit family and friends and sacrifice an animal.
The animal depends on the weath of the family. Most often it is a goat, sheep or cow. The family keeps a third of the meat, gives a third to family and friends and gives a third the poor. In the country people may do it themselves their yards, but the government sets up sites of trained butchers in many neighborhoods.
On their way to the feast...
This year we celebrated more traditionally than we have for several years. Normally since it’s a long weekend Bülent and I usually travel. This year it was 6 days. We did go to Marmaris, but so did most of the family. So while we enjoyed the sunshine and nature we also celebrated Bayram. In the U.S. often there are celebratory dinners, but here it is ususlly brunches and lunches.
The family got together several times, aunts, uncles and cousins for brunches and luncheons. It was a nice and casual way to visit. Since it was happening often I was able to excuse myself when the level of Turkish became too high, rather to sit there bored. Also the older generation entertained each other. This allowed Bülent and I to have more private time than we might have if we just went down with his parents.
We had a lovely time and are our way back to Ankara today. To the real world for a couple of days!
On the way to Fethiye! We decided to drive down through the mountains. It was an amazing trip though the Taurus Mountain range. They were steep and craggy, though thankfully there was no snow on the roads. It was Kurban Bayram, so there were sheep hanging upside down occasionally outside of houses as we drove through villages.
Handsome man and a beautiful view!
Ok, so today is less of a blog post and more of Fethiye Photo Porn. We stayed at a boutique hotel right on the water. It was great, and the views were awesome. Off season all those swank hotels are very reasonable. We had a blast! The night before we walked along the water, had dinner at a fish restaurant and took a taxi back because I was too cold to take one more step
The bay was full of boats of all sizes. In the morning we had breakfast overlooking the water and then had a walk along the marina.
After, we hopped in the car, and headed down the coast to Kalkan…
This year for Kurban Bayram we decided to take some time for ourselves. Usually during the Bayrams Bülent and I normally do things with his family, but this year we decided to do something by ourselves. We decided on driving down south and having a leisurely tour of the coast. We headed out of Ankara and spent a night in Pamukkale, then drove to the coast and stayed in Fethiye. The next day we drove to Kalkan, on the sea, and stayed with some friends at a gorgeous villa, and finally on to Antalya to have a visit with my amazing sister-in-law. What is great about her is that if I had met her without being married to her brother—I would still hang out with her.
Bülent and I had an amazing time, we just meandered along from place to place, taking scenic back roads and stopping at any historical sight we passed along the way.
Pamukkale was amazing. First, the pension we booked was adorable. Family run, it was clean, restful and had an cozy restaurant out of which they served wonderful food and wine.
The travertines were amazing. The thermal waters comes out of the ground and runs over the ridges. The chemical reaction between the water and the air creates the calcium carbonate. It was so lovely, on a cool fall day, to walk barefoot on the white terraces, our feet bathed in warm water.
The pools were a gorgeous shade of blue against the white travertines. I had expected the terraces to be slippery because they are wet, but the composite of the floor was really solid and not slippery at all. At the top of the hill there are the ancient ruins of Hierapolis, a city built in the 2nd century for its proximity to the hot springs for their healing properties.
We had a blast wading around and then exploring the ruins.
Next stop, Fethiye…
This week is Kurban Bayram or Eid al-Adha, the second religious holiday after Ramadan. It is a festival of sacrifice, and charity. Animals, usually sheep and cows, are sacrificed to represent Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. After the sacrifice a certain percentage of the meat is donated to the poor. The rest is divided among the family. Usually during this time your time is spent doing family visits and memorial visits. Usually the first or second day of Bayram the family visits the cemetery and pays respect to their dead.
The visits start out at the oldest relatives home, and progress down the line. At the visits tea and snacks are served, usually one salty and one sweet. You can not refuse. So Bayram becomes a time of visiting and eating, and eating and visiting. And then later feeling slightly ill due to the amount of sugar and tea you have consumed.
But not this year!!! This year the calendar aligned so Bayram started Monday at 12pm and ended Friday. The government decided to give us all of Monday off which means we have the whole week off! YAY!
We decided to drive down to Marmaris, a 10 hour drive and spend the week at the summer house. It has been great. It is cool, about 60 and a little rainy but incredibly gorgeous. During the summer it is usually about 100 degrees so it is so nice to take walks along the sea or in the mountain without seriously worrying about heat stroke and death.
As I write this I am sitting in the garden, under a lush canopy of green, smelling the jasmine in the air moist and rich from the rain. I can even hear the crickets and frogs. A vast difference from sitting here in the sweltering heat listening to the loud techno music from the bar down the streets and the drunk tourists swearing while they stumble on the road behind me after a night of clubbing.
Last week was Kurban Bayram or Eid al-Adha, the second religious holiday after Ramadan. It is a festival of sacrifice, and charity. Animals, usually sheep and cows, are sacrificed to represent Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. After the sacrifice a certain percentage of the meat is donated to the poor. The rest is divided among the family. We received some very fresh lamb that day.
The other practices of Bayram are family visits and memorial visits. Usually the first or second day of Bayram the family visits the cemetery and pays respect to their dead. We (the entire extended) visited the cemetery where Bulent’s grandfather. The cemetery in Ankara is huge. There are only two in a city with a population of over four million. The monuments stretch as far as the eye can see.
The visits start out at the oldest relatives home, and progress down the line. First his grandmother’s home, then his mother’s, then his Aunt’s and his Uncle’s, then our home. We visited two homes a day, until we reached ours. At the visits tea and snacks are served, usually one salty and one sweet. You can not refuse. So Bayram becomes a time of visiting and eating, and eating and visiting.
Bayram also coincided with Thanksgiving, which was great. I only had to work half a day on Thanksgiving and have Friday and Monday off. We had a great Thanksgiving with friends with all the trimmings.
Yay for Turkey and stuffing!
Last week was the Kurban Bayram, the Islamic holiday of sacrifice. I will give details later but I am recovering. We had a half day of work on Thursday which was great because it coincided with Thanksgiving, then Friday and Monday off. A short week of work really, but it has really smacked me around. I have not been sleeping well, just waking up in the middle of the the night. I keep thinking it is time to get up and then it is 2am. That is the problem about going to work when it is still dark.
The two days off from school apparently gave my students rule amnesia and they have been particularly challenging. There is also an exam coming up and I am trying to stuff their heads full of knowledge, and they would rather play. It has made for a stressful week. Tomorrow I have a conference to go to, so no sleeping in. However I am looking forward to it, and as I am a participant not a leader I am not expecting it to be a difficult day. It is weeks like this which make me am glad I love teaching. Actually liking what I do gives me more patience.
More will be forthcoming about the Kurban Bayram as soon as I am not sleep deprived.
Happy Bayram! Last month was Ramazan, a month where practicing Muslims fast from sunup to sundown as one of the pillars of Islam. During this time people who are observing Ramazan pray more and ask for forgiveness for past sins.
We are not religious but we tried not to eat in public during Ramazan. We were aware that many people around us were fasting, and felt uncomfortable eating in front of people who were not able to eat or drink all day.
Today is the last day of Şeker Bayram. It is three day holiday that falls on the first day after Ramazan. The fasting had ended and now people get together—and eat. People dress up and visit family members, usually the households of older or elderly family members. Tea or Turkish coffee is served along with cookies and borek. The name of the festival is actually Seker Bayram or “Sugar Bayram” Candy is usually handed out to children and passed around at the family visits. The Next Bayram is the 3rd week in November is Kurban Bayram or “Sacrifice Bayram.” More on that Bayram later.