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!