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The Holy Month of Ramazan 2012
has started today July 20th.
Practising Muslims will fast from sunrise until sunset every day until the three day Ramazan Festival, about a month later.
It's a time of fasting, meditation, prayer and celebration.
For non-Muslims it generally won't cause any problems, restaurants etc will still be open in most places. In very conservative areas there may be no meals served during the day and just one served after sunrise.
My advice? 1) Be prepared, check out in advance, for eg if you are visiting Konya, make your arrangements accordingly.
2) Try to be discreet and don't eat and drink in front of people who may be fasting.
3) Try to be tolerant, the waiter serving you may be fasting or the dithering taxi driver! Be safe too, don't dodge across the road between cars as people are dashing home in time to break the fast of an evening!
4) It may not be easy or appropriate to find/drink alcohol during this month especially in some areas.
5) Be aware that restaurants get chockablock at fast breaking time in the evenings so you may have to wait at your fave eatery!
6) Don't be frightened if you hear the drummer in the morning before sun-rise! He's only performing in the old traditional way, waking up the people who wish to eat a last meal before they fast for the day.
7) People travel all over the country at Ramazan Festival, the roads get crowded and dangerous and all forms of public transport get packed. If you really must travel then, book well in advance and if driving, go a day or two earlier and avoid the last day return crush!
Wishing those involved a Peaceful, Holy Ramazan.
I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train. Oscar Wilde
- Forum Leader - Turkey
The first year we were here, although we were aware of Ramadam we weren't aware of the drummer and being woken at 5am every morning in this way wasn't a happy experience:)
But it must be remembered that Ramadam isn't something that everyone does, and depending on where you are so does the effect of it vary.
After our first year the drummers were not allowed to perform anymore, not out of deference to the foreigners alone but because this is a secular country and Turkish people who have to work and don't take part didn't want to be woken up either:)
The degree to which those who take part also varies. I think that some people may think it is compulsory and that is most definitely not the case!!
Individuals can choose what they do, it is very much a matter of personal faith. Some will give up something for the period, or maybe donate something, or maybe just use the period for reflection. There is far more religious tolerance here than many realize. If you do not go out of your way to cause offence then you are fine.
I work in an office that has both Turkish and Kurkish, some abide strictly and some don't. I have no particular religious beliefs but it is assumed I am Christian and I am not expected to take part.
Out of respect for the friends I work with who cannot eat during the day I do it discreetly, I know they would not feel the less of me if I ate openly but perhaps feel more because I don't.
Finding food or alcohol is absolutely no problem at all where I am. The people selling it may or may not be abstaining but they are still in business:)
But it is a point to remember that many of these people have been up all night because of their beliefs and will not be at their best during the day, so I would echo the request to be tolerant. The people in my office can at times be asleep at their desks, but they wake up when required and do their best.