Traditions of Ramadan “Sugar” Feast in Turkey

Ramadan Feast (Sugar Feast) is an official holiday that lasts for three days in Turkey. Celebrating the Ramadan Feast after a month of fasting is one of the most basic and most important traditions of Islam. The Arabic name of this religious holiday is” Eid ul-Fitr”.” Eid” means feast and “Fitr” means “breaking the fast” It refers to the festivity of the end of the thirty days of fasting in Ramadan.

Background of The Feast

Ramadan Feast is the first day of “Shawwal”, It comes after one month of fasting. “Shawwal” is the 10th month of the Islamic Calendar, each month in the Islamic calendar begins with the first spotting of the new moon” hilal”. Therefore, the exact dates of the Ramadan Feast change every year according to the Gregorian calendar.


The customs of Sugar Feast

Lots of people wake up early on the first day of the Ramadan Feast. They wear their best clothes, called “bayramlık”, which they buy especially for this occasion. They have a big varied breakfast, which symbolizes the end of the fasting period, which many Muslims observe during the month of Ramadan.  In Turkey, it’s known as Sugar Feast (Şeker Bayramı), because people provide their guests with sweets and traditional desserts during the festival.

It is usual to visit one's relatives especially older ones, even for those who are absent, so do not be surprised to see crowds gathering to cemeteries to pay their respects to those family members no longer with them. Children kiss the hands of the elders as a sign of respect and getting sweets or a gift of pocket money in return, which they used to wrap up in a handkerchief in the old days. On the other hand, the parents and elder family members, have their homes prepared and ready to welcome visitors and share tea or coffee and desserts such as baklava.

This tradition is called "bayramlaşma," which means "wishing a merry holiday." The most frequent greetings in this occasion in Turkey are, "Bayramınız kutlu olsun" which translate into "May your feast be blessed" or "Mutlu bayramlar," which means "Happy feast."

Do not forget to have some of the candy during the “Şeker Bayramı”, kids tend to knock on neighbor's doors to give their holiday greetings in exchange for candy, as you guess!

Turkish shadow plays, such as Karagöz and Hacivat, are popular during the Feast, and children can watch these plays free of charge.



 Important notes for Tourists in Sugar Feast

The first day of the Sugar Feast museums are closed, they are usually open on the second and third day. However, they may be busier than any regular day thanks to the special entrance fees for locals in holidays. Shopping malls in Istanbul are open during the holiday, just like any other day, Except for the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar. Beware, shopping malls tend to be busier than regular days.

Also, note that airports are most likely to be even busier than usual since many locals use the time off as an opportunity to travel for holiday purposes.

Last Updated: 6/3/2019 10:16:32 AM