Eid al-Adha, Kurban Bayramı, in Turkey

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
Istanbul Mosques in The Night Time
Istanbul Mosques in The Night Time

If you arrive to Turkey for your holiday around the Eid al-Adha holiday, you will see people being more cheerful and friendly, wandering in the streets with stylish clothes and celebrating the feast of each other. This festive atmosphere, which covers the whole country and it is celebrated as a religious and official holiday in Turkey.

Eid al-Adha, is the time when you can have opportunity to know Turkish society better. Eid al-Adha begins with the sacrifice early in the morning on the first day. While some families prefer to leave it to businesses handle this ritual professionally, in some families men at home prefer to do it themselves.

Kavurma, Turkish Roasted Meat

After the sacrifice process and the placement of the meat in the fridge, large tables are set up and “meat roasting”, the most famous and practical dish of the sacrifice feast, is cooked. We recommend you to taste this roasted meat in restaurants, accompanied by onions and buttermilk.

One of the most important aspects of the Sacrifice Festival is the social solidarity dimension, and immediately after the meat is ready on the first day, the meat is shared with the families who do not have enough opportunity to have a sacrifice. Sacrifice is one of the worship in the religion of Islam, and the Feast of Sacrifice is one of the religious obligations in order to be closer to God according to the belief of Muslims.

Beyazıt bazaar in the Great Eid During Ottoman Era Istanbul

Preparations for the Eid al-Adha begin one day before at home, and this day is called “Arefe” or eve. During the day of Arefe, shopping and cleaning is done in the houses and preparations are made for the festival. The festival lasts four days and, according to the belief, the animal to be sacrificed should be sacrificed in the first three days of the feast.
Suitable animals are sheep, goats, cattle and camels. It is very important that the animal is healthy and of a certain age, and it is absolutely important not to suffer during the process.

Binding of Isaac

Since the Hijri calendar is 11-12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, the Feast of Sacrifice is celebrated every year 11-12 days earlier than the previous year.
According to the belief of Muslims, the history of sacrifice goes back to the Prophet Abraham and is a very impressive story. Abraham had no children from his wife and marries another woman to have children. But they still wanted to have a child with his first wife too. If he has a child from his first wife, he promised that he would sacrifice his son in the name of God. Years later, a baby from the first wife comes to the world and Abraham was reminded about his promise to the God. The next day, when he laid down his son Isaac for the ritual and a lamb descended from the sky. Allah told Abraham to sacrifice this lamb, not his son. According to Muslims, the victims are sacrificed every year since then.

Painting of Sultan Selim III holding audience for Aid al-Hadha in front of the Gate of Felicity of Topkapı Palace

Eid al-Adha is not just a feast of animal sacrifice. During the feast days, friends and relatives are visited, desserts just like in Ramadan will be served. Considering this is a public holiday, everyone prefers to go out with their family or friends, and therefore you may encounter heavy traffic. Considering that big shopping malls, cinemas, parks and similar places will be very crowded, I recommend that you make your holiday plan accordingly.

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

You may also like...

Use a WordPress.com, Twitter, Facebook, or Google Account to Comment or to Leave a ReplyCancel reply

Send A Quick WhatsApp Message