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HOLIDAYS

When you are planning your trip, it is worth noting the dates of Turkish holidays. you should book accommodation and  transport ahead of time wherever possible If you are planning to travel during a holiday for a few days either side of one. The biggest Islamic holiday, Kurban Bayramı, sees locals  travel all over the country; for those working in the big cities it may be the only time of the year they get to see their families.

 

All banks, businesses  and most shops are closed on public holidays;  however, most restaurants, grocery shops, supermarkets, and businesses  catering for foreign tourists will remain open. Note that just prior to and after the holidays Banks will be extremely busy and ATMs may run out of cash during the holiday period. It is well worth planning  ahead so you don't end up having to change money at inflated rates

Islamic Holidays

The official Turkish calendar is the Gregorian one used in Europe,  box religious festivals are celebrated according to the Islamic lunar  calendar. Dates in the major Islamic holidays table, below, are estimates ;  exact dates are not confirmed until the Moon is sighted.

 Turkey celebrates all the main Islamic holidays of  which the most important are the month- long Ramazan  and 2 months later, Kurban bayramı. Since these holidays are celebrated  according to the Muslim lunar calendar. they take place around 11 days earlier each year.

 an unofficial half-day holiday for preparation precedes the start of major public and religious holidays;  shops and offices close about noon and the actual Festival begins at sunset. Of the religious festivals, only Şeker Bayramı and Kurban Bayramı are also  public holidays.

Ramadan

The holy  month( Ramadan in other  Muslim countries) is similar in some ways to Lent. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the 5 pillars of Islam,  and for 30 days devout Muslims let nothing pass their lips nothing pass their lips during daylight hours: no eating, no drinking, smoking, or even  downing and aspirin. Pregnant or nursing women, young children, the infirm and aged and travelers are not obliged to fast.

Before dawn, drummers wake the faithful so they can eat before sunrise. Traditionally, a cannon  shot signals the end of the fast at sunset whereupon everyone sits down to an iftar ( The break of fast meal).

During Ramazan, some restaurants may be closed from dawn to nightfall, but most eateries catering to tourists  remain open. As non-muslims, you're allowed to eat and drink when you like - and in the big cities you will find lots of non fasting Muslims beside you - But it is still best to be discreet,  especially in conservative towns.

Ramazan is not an official public holiday , although many businesses operate in a half-hearted manner,  opening late and closing early. not surprisingly tempers can fray faster then usual at this time and driving can be a bit more erratic 

Seker Bayramı

A 3-day Festival let's celebrates  the end of Ramadan, Şeker Bayramı (Sweets holiday; Ramazan Bayramı) is so named  because during the festival children go from door-to-door asking for Sweet Treats.  Their elders go visiting, and everybody drinks lots of tea in broad daylight after the long fast.  Banks and offices close; hotels, buses, trains, and planes are booked solid.

Kurban Bayramı

The most important religious and secular holiday of the year,  Kurban Bayramı (Festival of the sacrifice ) Is just as important  to Muslims Christmas is to Christians. the festival commemorates Ibrahim’s near - sacrifice of Ismael on Mt Moriah (Quran, Sura 37; Genesis 22), The same story as the biblical one  about Abraham and Isaac .

Every year around 4 million cows  and sheep are sacrificed for Kurban Bayramı.  every head of household who can afford to buys a beast to sacrifice.  Immediately after early morning prayers on the first day off the holiday the animal’s  throat is slit. it is then flayed and butchered, and family and friends prepare a feast.   part of the meat is given to the needy; the skin is donated to a charity, which then sells it to leather Products company.  These days you won't see the sacrifices in the cities, but out of the countryside it is a different story.

Kurban Bayramı  is a four or five day holiday, and Banks usually closed for a full week.  transport is packed, and hotel rooms particularly along the coasts, are scarce  and expensive.

School Holidays

 You need to take Turkish school holidays into account when planning your trip.  Along with increasing affluence has come a swelling domestic tourism markets that gets into its  stride in mid June and continues right through until mid September. during those months many coastal  towns, especially along the north Aegean coast between Istanbul and Izmir, gets very busy and transport can become very crowded.