Today is the first day of Kurban Bayramı (Eid al-Adha), the Feast of Sacrifice in Turkey and all around the Muslim world. I would like to wish all my Muslim readers Kurban Bayramınız Mübarek Olsun! (May your Feast of Sacrifice be blessed!) As I have never been in Turkey (nor in another Muslim country) during Kurban Bayramı, I felt I’m not the right person to write about. I refuse to base my knowledge and judgement upon other people’s feelings and opinions. Still, I couldn’t stand aside and keep totally quiet during the bayram. I cannot pretend there is nothing going on. So I made some research and I prepared a short selection of and extracts from the best articles/blog posts I found about Kurban Bayramı:
- I’m going to start with Janeyinmersin,a blog I’m always delighted to read. Janey explains us the meaning of Kurban Bayramı:
(Kurban Bayramı) is a 4 1/2 day festival which takes place 70 days after Ramazan has ended. It is known as the Festival of Sacrifice referring to the story of Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his son Ismael at God’s bequest. Pretty much the same deal as Abraham and Isaac if you are running in Christian circles. The festival is all about charity and community. Each family (who can afford to do so) will purchase an animal for the sacrifice and over the past few weeks there has been an abundance of animals to be found grazing on any spare parcel of land around the city. After the animal has had its throat cut and the life-blood has drained away the meat is split into three – one third to your family, one third to your neighbour’s and one third to the poor. It’s a lovely idea (well except for the sacrifice that is). If you cannot afford to purchase an animal you can make a donation to an organization such as Türk Hava Kurumu and have animals slaughtered in your name. The organization will also make sure the food is correctly distributed to the poor. Read Janey’s piece here.
- I’ll continue the list with one of my favourite blogs: Natalie Sayin’s Turkish Travel Blog, a must-read for those who plan to visit Turkey. Natalie wrote about her role in the celebration:
‘I will dress in my oldest and drab clothes (bear with me- there is a reason why I am wearing old clothes), then head to friends and family to join in with this age-old religious tradition. My role in the celebration is simple. I will stand and listen while a verse from the Quran is read. The throat of the sheep will then be slit and the blood drained into a hole in the ground. Once this has been done, I will join in with the other women to clean and cut the animal up, hence why I am not dressed in my best gear. A certain amount of the meat will be allocated to the poor. Neighbors who have not had the opportunity to purchase an animal will be given some and the rest will be divided between the families.’- Click here to read the whole article.
- Another expat, Danni (Living the Turkish Dream), explains us why sacrificing sheep during Kurban Bayramı is not as bad as it seems:
‘I have seen comments from people in the past who say the process of sacrificing millions of sheep over a few days for a religious festival is barbaric and inhumane, however, the meaning behind the tradition and the process of giving meat to those less fortunate people is a good one in my opinion, it is not meaningless killing for the sake of it, it has a purpose. Some people do find this an outdated, old fashioned tradition and some modern families like to donate money to charity instead.’- Click here to read more.