Kurban bayram, the Sacrifice Festival, Eid al-Adha or even the Greater Eid are many of the names you may have seen/heard recently.
All of them refer to a very important time in the Islamic calendar. This Bayram is the second of the year following on from the Şeker Bayramı (The Sugar Bayram).
The festival commemorates İbrahim's act of submission to Allah through his willingness to sacrifice his son upon Mount Marwah.
For those on Hajj – the Kurban Bayramı marks the end of their pilgrimage but for those at home, it represents a time of reflection, celebration and religious obedience where families come together and recognize the sacrifice Ibrahim made and to show thankfulness that they are not required to make such a sacrifice themselves.
Who is İbrahim?
Known as Abraham within Christianity and Judaism, İbrahim was a kind and compassionate Prophet who can easily be considered a model Muslim following on from the many trials he fulfilled in his lifetime, including the command of God to sacrifice his son. İbrahim obeyed Gods command and led his son to the Mount Moriah with the intention of making his sacrifice for the Lord who’s divine intervention at the last minute saved İbrahim by replacing his son with a Ram.
What do Muslims do during the festival?
Arife is the name given to the eve of the 1st day of the festival, the family will do the last bits of shopping and banking in the morning, visit, attend and place Myrtle plants on the graves of family members who have passed and make preparations for the following day.
In order to acknowledge the account of İbrahim, many Muslims will attend a special sermon and pray early at the mosque or at home, wear new clothes to celebrate the importance of the day and possibly give old clothes away to charity. They will come together as a family and pay respects to those who can no longer be with the family.
Most importantly Muslims will make an animal sacrifice symbolic of the commitment of İbrahim to God and following on from the sacrifice, enjoy a meal and family time and split the meat between the family, friends and charity.
How Will Kurban Bayram affect by travel in Turkey?
A short time ago the government announced an extended Bayram period which allows civil servants to take an extended break – this may cause more travel congestion at the beginning of the week.
All government buildings will be closed for the full week and banks and many shops will be closed from Wednesday afternoon until the end of the week.
As with all Bayram's travel at the beginning and end of the week will be very busy and it is advised to avoid all unnecessary travel on these days.
Museums and tourist attractions are likely to be closed on the Thursday but open on other days so pre-planning is highly recommended.
I'm not a Muslim Can I Take Part In The Bayram?
As with all celebrations and important days in Turkey guests are welcome with open arms and Turks are keen to see others enjoying their culture and religion.
If not already offered, showing an interest in the festival should see an invite to the feast following on from sacrifice or if you wish you can visit a local abattoir.
A number of Ex-pats also take part by having an animal slaughtered in their name in order to share out to charity, this can be ordered locally or online through a charity or if preferred you can donate money to charity either locally or through the internet.