A special interview conducted with my Turkish Language teacher Mrs. Duygu Itani at the “Yunus Emre Enstitüsü”, Turkish Cultural Center in Beirut.
For the Arabic version, visit our facebook page on this link.
L: Hello! Would you please tell us about Fitr Feast in Turkey. How do people in Turkey celebrate this holiday?
D: Smiled and said: “Ramazan Bayramı”, meaning Fitr Feast, is a special holiday in Turkey. It starts by visiting the mosques early in the morning. Men of religious families pray the feast prayer in mosques.
After the prayer, men congratulate each other for this happy occasion, and they wish each other God’s acceptance of their good deeds in the holy month of Ramadan. Moreover, younger men kiss the hands of the elderly as a sign of respect.
L: That’s nice! And after that?
D: Men return back home to find breakfast ready and made by their wives or mothers. Feast’s Breakfast is a rich Turkish breakfast because it comes after a full month of fasting.
L: What about children?
D: Children are very excited during this feast. They usually put their new clothes near their bed the night before. They finish their breakfast and rush outside their houses to collect feast candies and money from their family and neighbors.
L: Candies?? That’s interesting!
D: You know, Fitr feast in Turkey is called “Sugar Feast” too. Candies and other sweets have a very important status in this feast.
D: When we receive visitors, the first thing we do after they get in is to serve them Feast Candies, Chocolate, Lokum, and Cologne.
D: Yes, we serve cologne with scents of Lemon or Tobacco. It is a traditional thing not to be missed in the Feast.
L: What about other things served during a visit?
D: In a short visit, Turkish tea or coffee is served, with something sweet like Baklava or Cake.
But for people visiting for a longer duration, and if it is the house where the family’s elderly is staying, then lunch is served.
L: What about the other days of the feast?
D: During the 3 days of Fitr Feast, cafes restaurants, parks, luna parks, and entertainment centers are very crowded. All the people are on vacation and they want to enjoy their time.
L: Since it is an official holiday, would you tell us what places close during the feast?
D: For 3 days, all official and government departments are closed. Bazars like the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazar are also closed. Schools close for 7 to 10 days too.
As for shops, it depends on the location and the owner. Shopping centers and malls open regularly. (Most malls open at 1.00 pm the first day).
Exchange offices close for the first day in general.
L: What about public transportation?
D: During three days, all public transport is free. Buses, tramway, metro, and ferries. Even roads and bridges with tolls are free during the feast.
Lots of traffic is expected during the feast, but recently many people are leaving the big cities to their original cities or villages, leading to less traffic. An increase in ticket price of both internal flights and buses that connect cities are also expected.
Finally, I thanked Mrs. Duygu Itani for this valuable information, wishing her a pleasant “Ramazan Bayramı”, and wishing to spend the Fitr Feast soon in Istanbul.
Note that this interview was conducted in Turkish, and then translated into English and Arabic.
Ever spent any feast in Turkey? Tell us about your experience in the comments box below.
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