Celebrate a better world?

happy

As you already know Turkey and other Muslim countries are celebrating Ramazan Bayramı. Even though I’m not a Muslim, and I am not even living in a Muslim country at the moment, somehow I’ve felt the spirit of Bayram since the arife, the eve of the holiday. I’ve turned on my holiday mood and I… even prepared cookies. My inner self has been wearing her best bib and tucker and was kind of surprised to see people going to work, acting normally … as I was expecting to see them celebrating. I felt like it was Christmas! I felt happy that it was someone else’s “Christmas”. Although the “basic” reasons for celebrating Christmas, Ramazan Bayramı or other religious feasts are different, we cannot deny their common message: be human, love others. So why not to celebrate humanity with others? I can already hear my critics: “Wake up daydreamer! We cannot celebrate everyday! We need to earn our living!” I totally agree. But… I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t work during the celebrations of others… Not nearly. All I’m saying is to let the spirit of the holidays invade our souls and act accordingly. People tend to be kinder, more willing to help others and happier during celebrations. So why not celebrate more? And become better human beings.

Of course, in order to celebrate and to feel happy for others, we should know them, understand them. Information and empathy. We all have the keys to them. If we use them properly we can avoid the stereotypical traps, which have the power to separate us. Before judging others we must inform ourselves and instead of being indifferent we should imagine ourselves in their shoes. The more we know someone the less we judge, hate, discriminate, hurt … Logical, right? But not so easy in a subjective world. As humans we tend to blame others for what’s happening to us, we refuse to take responsibility. It’s easier. It’s easier to label people than to understand them. It’s easier to hate than to communicate and search for solutions. Some may argue that life is too short and there’s no time to waste with others. And after all Machiavelli taught us that “the ends justifies the means”… But what are the consequences? Hate, lies, egoism, wars… the metamorphosis of humans into soulless bodies. Following this path we may obtain what we want, but still feel miserable, unsatisfied, as we cannot share our happiness. To a certain degree we already live in these realities. I’m not talking only about unprincipled, bloody politics, although there are many things to be said about but I’d rather keep this blog out of politics, I’m talking also about unhappy, intolerant people, isolated from reality, in a cold, superficial world. Ready to fight back but afraid to communicate, ashamed to show their feelings.

So what does celebration have to do with this? Well, celebrations bring people together. Celebrations make us more human. Celebrations usually celebrate humankind, culture and origins, identity. We can better understand others by observing the purpose and meaning of their celebration, and recognize ourselves in them. By joining them. Because celebrations are usually a source of happiness. Moreover, happiness is a source of “good”, while “bad” seems to be the weapon of unhappy, frustrated people. Who cannot understand. Cannot tolerate difference. Cannot accept their own weaknesses. So they try to destroy the happiness of others. As if happiness would be a limited resource…

When we’ll realize that we are all the same, but painted in different shades, that we have similar needs and dreams, but different ways to express them, and speak up against the imaginary barriers that separate us, we’ll live in a better world, celebrating humanity day by day…

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Sweet celebration: Ramazan Bayramı

bayram-sekeri

Turkey is about to become one of the sweetest countries in the world. Today Turks celebrate the first day of Ramazan or Şeker (Sugar) Bayramı (Holiday, Feast), a three days long religious holiday, which marks the end of the Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, with large amounts of şeker (sugar) and gratitute. With this occasion I wish all the Muslims ‘Ramazan Bayramınız Mübarek Olsun!’ (May your Bayram be blessed!)

The Arabic name of the Ramazan Bayramı is Eid ul-Fitr, Eid meaning “festivity” and Fitr “original nature”, referring to the restoration of one’s best human composition.[1] In Turkey the term bayram is used not only for religious feasts but also for official national celebrations, as for example Zafer Bayramı (Victory Day) or Cumhuriyet Bayramı (Republic Day). For a Romanian the term can be confusing given that in my language, bayram (written as bairam) means party, without any religious or national connotation. The term was borrowed from Ottoman Turkish and embraced only its most ‘visible’ meaning, given that Romania’s main regions Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania were under Ottoman suzerainty.

Ramazan Bayramı is the celebration of family and respect, unity and generosity. Fasting is forbidden in the first day of Bayram, therefore breakfast is a must. The celebration includes the Bayram prayer and obligatory charity acts, as required by the Koran. People must help their needy, poor fellows,  while fundraising events are organized throughout the country. Moreover, the celebration cherishes the unity of the family. During Ramazan Bayramı people visit their older relatives, showing them respect by kissing their right hand and placing it on the forehead. Families come together and all the enmities are forgotten.

Therefore, Ramazan Bayramı is about charity, family and… sweets as its name, Şeker Bayramı (Sugar Feast) suggests us. Sugar Feast is the favourite celebration of children, who during the Bayram go door to door and wish people Ramazan Bayramınız mübarek olsun! (May your Bayram be blessed) or Mutlu Bayramlar! (Happy Bayram!) As a reward they receive many sweets, baklavas, Turkish delights and even small amounts of money. Even though the tradition of offering sweets might give us a hint regarding the origin of the name Şeker Bayramı,  according to Murat Bardakçı ‘şeker’ comes actually from ‘şükür’ which means ‘gratitude’, ‘praise’ in Turkish and the confusion occured because in Ottoman Turkish the two words were written in the same way[2]. Therefore Şeker Bayramı should have been Şükür Bayramı.

Even so we cannot deny the fact that Ramazan Bayramı is the sweetest Turkish celebration!

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