Ramadan (Ramazan / Şeker Bayramı) will start on June 28th and finish on July 28th.
As a tourist holidaying in Turkey you will most likely not notice any differences, nor be affected by the holy month of Ramadan. As in tourist areas it’s pretty much business as usual, with restaurants and bars opening at the same times and food & alcohol being served through out the day.
However, it is good practice to be aware of what Ramadan means to some Turkish people and that some people cannot accept a drink of water, food or a cigarette that you may offer them during the time of Ramadan.
So what is Ramadan?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ramadan, it is the month during which Muslims fast, from sunrise until sunset, every single day throughout the entire month. This is not considered optional, but is regarded as a compulsory religious duty.
Fasting is seen as a way of reminding and educating individuals in spirituality, humility and patience.
Muslims also see it as a time to cleanse the soul and focus on God and most importantly put into practice selflessness.
The dates of Ramazan change each year, moving approximately 11 days earlier, which means that the Islamic holy month falls in all seasons at one time or another.
Some muslims are exempt from participting in the Ramadan fast and those include people who are;
ill, traveling, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding.
Away from tourist areas - some businesses and offices may have shorter working hours. Museums and other sights of interest will be open, although opening hours may be somewhat different than in other times of year.
Restaurants may require reservations in the evening, and may serve only multi-course fixed-menu, fixed-price meals—and no alcoholic beverages.
What to expect?
You may here the drummer boy banging his drums early hours of the morning. This is to wake those who are fasting.
City traffic may be heaviest just before sunset as people travel to spend Iftar, the fast-breaking meal, with family and friends.
Some people may become a bit "touchy" or irritable during the day due to the challenges of the fast.
Keep in mind the challenges of the fast when dealing with those who are fasting and be understanding, tolerant and polite in all circumstances, and try to refrain from eating or drinking in front of those who may be observing the fast, whenever possible.
What happens when it finishes?
The end of Ramadan is called Eid Al-Fitr. (Şeker Bayramı) The day of Eid is typically spent visiting friends and family, it is pretty much like the Turkish version of Christmas Day.
After Eid many Turkish families will go on a holiday to a different part of Turkey or abroad.
On the last day of Ramazan, businesses may close in the afternoon in preparation for the three-day holiday, which begins at sunset.
Transport services may be particularly busy as people travel for vacation, so reserve your seats in advance. At the end of Ramazan Bayramı, transport may be busy as travelers return home.
Even though it won’t have an impact on most of you, its respectful and educational to be aware of Ramadan’s importance and existence in Turkey.
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