Like many other religious practices, Eid celebrations also differ in countries with Muslim majorities. In this article, we will review the typical eid celebration in Turkey. In Turkey, Albania, Bosnia and other Balkan countries, Eid is known as “Bayram”.
Preparations to Bayram celebration starts weeks before the day
The entire house is cleaned, and necessary furniture provisions are made to make sure the house is ready for guests. Family members buy new clothing for the day. The clothing for this special event is called”bayramlik” (literally meaning “for bayram”). Men and women would traditionally get new classic outfits; such as suits and dresses. Parents would get whatever fashion is “in” for their kids and teenagers. Everyone would get new shoes as well. So kids at your school would later rave about their “bayramlik shoes” and “bayramlik jeans” or “bayramlik handbags”.
Families prepare or nowadays pre-order delicacies to be served on the day. These include baklava, borek or other regional specialties. Gifts are also important. Families would get gifts for their loved ones, and also generic gifts for their relatives or visitors. These gifts vary from socks, handkerchiefs to other accessories, depending on the budget. Money is also given as a gift – which is called “bayramlik” money.
Bayram starts early in the day with the bayram prayer in the local mosque. This is a short ceremony with 2 rakahs of prayer performed together with the guidance of the local imam. The imam would make a short (depending on the Imam) speech talking about the significance of the day and usually stressing the importance of forgiving one another as it is considered a sin not to make peace at Bayram with people that you stopped talking to. After the ceremony, the congregation leaves the mosque and meets outside forming a shake-hands circle. The first person leaving, would stand by outside the door, greeting the second person. The second person would shake the first person’s hand and they would exchange Bayram wishes. The second person then would line up next to the first person, so that the third person would shake hands with the first and the second person and continue the process by lining up next to the second person. Finally when the entire congregation shake hands and exchange good wishes, people would go home and get ready for the fun part of bayram.
At home, the family celebrates each other’s bayram. Kids would kiss their parents (and elders’) right hands and place it on their forehands. Parents would then hug their kids and often kiss them on the cheeks.
Then comes the gift exchanging part. This is usually one-sided with parents giving the kids gifts. Most of the time, parents would give their kids “bayramlik” money. The amount would depend on the financial power of the family but usually it would be higher than the usual pocket money. Usually with kids getting older and gaining financial independence, they would also give gifts to their parents – but not money.
After family finishes having breakfast, the parents would stay home and wait for visitors. The kids however would go out and start visiting their neighbours for bayram celebration. The process is very similar to the American Halloween. The doors would be open to anyone who comes over to celebrate bayram. They would be given candy or “bayramlik” money, depending on their affinity or closeness to the family. If adults are visiting for bayram, they’d be offered baklava or other specialties as well as drinks.
For kids, this is a truly joyous occasion. They would plan the day with their friends and siblings. Depending on their age group, this is the day where they would collect their treasures. As teenager, you may plan getting a new smartphone, fashion piece or fund your trip with money you collect at bayram. As a younger kid, this is the day you would stock up sweets as well as money to buy sweets and junk food.
The visits would usually end around or after lunch time. The family would then make a trip to the cemetery and visit the tombs of their elders and pay respect; put flowers or water flowers and say a few prayers and often shed tears.
After the cemetery visit, the families then would visit their elders and usually stay for dinner.
Neighbours would visit each other or sometimes you would take a trip to your relatives, if you live far away from your family.
Bayrams go for 3 or 4 days. You would feel a happy the atmosphere in the streets. As this is the time to make peace, celebrate and forgive, people would be more tolerant of each other with kids particularly getting away with mischief during bayram days.
Just like Christmas or other similar celebration, you would experience a positive attitude wherever you go. I guess this is a sign, regardless of religious backgrounds, human beings all need more or less same vehicles and outlets to connect with each other, to share and express good vibes.
Let’s end with a Bayram special: