The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is the month of fasting and prayer for the Muslim world. Regarded as the Five Pillars of Islam, it is a mandatory act to fast during Ramadan for every Muslim people who are able to do so. As the Turkish population is mostly made out of Muslim people, fasting is a common religious practice. During Ramadan, there are many celebrations, traditions, and events that fill the souls with a common spirit of Ramadan and its sacredness. In Istanbul, Ramadan is celebrated with concerts, events, grand iftars (meal ending the fasting) and much more. During Ramadan, Istanbul is blessed with everyday events, praying and citing Quran altogether. Ramadan is seen as the time to be united, and great respect is paid to everyone during this period. There are many traditions done that enrich both the time and experience a person has during Ramadan. Let us seek further into the Ramadan.
What is Ramadan?
Before going further, we would like to first tell you more about this holy month, Ramadan. Lasting thirty or twenty-nine days, Ramadan is a special month where aside from fasting. Muslim people give money to the poor (zakat and sadaqah), commemorate Nights of al-Qadr (days when Muhammed received the prophecy and Quran), abstain from all that is evil and doing good, and a special prayer: taraweeh. Quran essentially reveals Ramadan month as guidance for humankind. A month to expiate sin, staying away from evil deeds, and putting their will to control. During Ramadan, people unite with the great cause and divinity of the Islam faith. From sunrise to sunset, it is a fard (mandatory act) for all adult Muslims who are not traveling, breastfeeding, diabetic, menstruating, elder, and sick. People who fast have a meal before dawn called sahur, and end their fast in a night meal called iftar. Refraining not only from food and drink, it believed that thawab (reward) of every good deed and prayer is multiplied during Ramadan. Until the end of the month, all Muslims reach inner peace and find themselves in a more soothed condition.
Istanbul and Ramadan
Recalled as “Sultan of Eleven Months” by the Turkish people, even the upcoming days of Ramadan are celebrated with great excitement and joy. Ramadan is seen as a cause to unite with everyone across the globe with great hospitality, to aid each other in various ways. Ramadan is seen as a “month of bereket” meaning it is a divine gift of prosperity and fruitfulness. The enthusiasm of the upcoming month is greatly appreciated by the common folk, and during the month, Istanbul essentially turns into a grand festival ground for countless activities.
Istanbul is a city of mosques. The biggest and fanciest mosques of the world fill the streets of Istanbul, enriching its value on a grand scale. During Ramadan, these mosques become the pillar of good deeds and prayers, and everyone visits them. Mosques shine their traditional lights between minarets, reciting the Quran and inspirational quotes of dervishes and famous people. These mosques open their doors for everyone with great hospitality, hosting each individual, proposing their great wisdom and tranquility.
Ramadan Tables in Istanbul
Tables are another topic during Ramadan. Each table is set with great joy near the minutes of iftar, filled with amazing tastes from Turkish cuisine. People who have disputes make peace with each other to be united at the same table during iftar, ending their fast while enjoying the best of the foods proposed to them. During iftar, each mosque lights up its lights and sometimes makes a cannon noise, claiming the time of iftar has come. There many exceptional tastes of Ramadan, but without pide and hurma, it is not possible to think of a Ramadan table.
Along with prayers and peace, bazaars and markets are filled with discounts reaching great values. During Ramadan, many fairs and events are organized where people come together in order to share their peace and knowledge. Different types of arts are practiced, with traditional Turkish music filling every street of Istanbul.
With the upcoming days of Ramadan, Istanbul is especially a better city to visit. If you want to feel the best of this holy month and enjoy your trip, make sure to pay a visit.