If you visit Turkey I am sure you will have heard of Ramazan or Ramadan, they mean the same. Ramazan is a month of fasting during the daytime; it’s a holy month when Muslims across the globe take part in fasting and spiritual self-reflection, a time to focus on prayer, purification and to help one another. It’s a time to put aside petty squabbles to forgive and to forget and to make random acts of kindness by way of giving to the poor and needy and making charitable donations.
The Islamic religion follows 5 commands:
Believe in one God and his Prophet Mohammed
Pray at specific times – 5 times daily
Help the poor and needy
Fast during Ramazan
Pilgrimage to Mecca – at least once
Ramazan does not take place on the same date every year, the Muslim calendar follows the crescent moon lunar system and Ramadan is the name of the 9th month in the Islamic calendar. From dawn until dusk no food or drink can pass their lips, they cannot smoke or kiss their loved ones on the lips it’s about abstaining physically and spiritually. Those fasting are also to get a better understanding for the poor and needy who cannot find food to eat, it’s a time for contemplation, to take stock of one’s life and to be aware of people’s sufferings around you.
Of course, not everyone can fast, children, pregnant women, sick people, travellers and soldiers at war are exempted from fasting, imagine not being able to even have a sip of water especially during the summer months in the soaring heat, they are to be respected for sure! After sunset, they are allowed to break the fast for the day, starting with the Iftar meal although over indulgence is frowned upon.
If you happen to be visiting Turkey for example during the Ramazan fast then please be aware of your surroundings and think twice before you do the following: Don’t eat or drink anything in public during fasting hours or in front of someone who is fasting please be considerate to others. There are plenty of restaurants in Turkey who serve food for those who are not observing the fast. If you smoke, you should do so out of sight if at all possible.
Just a little note that is worth thinking of, it’s not easy following Ramazan especially in the summer months and tempers may flare due to low blood sugar levels and be extra vigilant whilst driving. After Ramazan, there is a national holiday called Seker Bayram (Sugar holiday) its where Turkish families get together in celebration, at these times the roads can be very congested so take care whilst driving. Also worth noting is the banks and government buildings are all closed during this festive holiday time. During this holiday period, there are many festivals and celebrations taking place and you will be welcomed at all of them, it’s fascinating to see the lifestyle of other cultures.