Write: Hasan Mert Kaya - Photo: Alp Kaya
Ramadan, known as ‘the sultan of eleven months’, has been loved for hundreds of years and has accumulated a wealth of rituals. Ramadan traditions passed on from the Ottoman period show just how important Ramadan truly is.
‘Tooth rental’ is a gift to guests invited to break fast and is usually money, a gold coin, or a similar item. Having accepted the host’s invitation, the guests have ‘tried’ their teeth and have directly helped the host accumulate virtue in the eyes of the Lord. For this, the host conveys his gratitude to the guests by giving them presents.
After a day of fasting, especially in many parts of Anatolia and Istanbul, one enjoys various entertainments that do not threaten the spiritual importance of the month. Acrobats, magicians, and colorful delicacies sold by street vendors enliven the evenings. Processions, Karagöz-Hacivat puppet shows, and various competitions make Ramadan popular with children and adults alike. In Anatolian villages, the elderly tell stories to children to teach them moral lessons. People enjoy reading poems and singing. Children are encouraged to fast and are given presents as incentive.
TRADITION AND SOLIDARITY
During Ramadan, relationships are strengthened as people share and support each other in their spiritual experience. Confectionaries such as tasty jams, different types of cheese, olives, and dates have become staples for breaking fast. Zamzam (holy) water and different types of sherbets complete the meals. The tradition of inviting people for breaking the fast was inherited from the Ottoman era and is a great opportunity for gathering and socializing.
LET’S FINISH WITH A JOKE
A dervish asks his master, “Master, we love Ramadan and miss it very much. Do you think Ramadan loves and misses us, too?” The master replies, “I am sure that it does. If it didn’t, would it arrive 10 days earlier each year?”(*) Have a nice Ramadan! (*)Because of the 10-day difference between the Gregorian and Hegira calendar, every year Ramadan starts 10 days earlier than the previous year).