It’s the time of the year. Ramadan is greeted by all of us with excitement and joy! The month when the gates of the hell are closed up, when our sins are washed away with prayers and duaas, when we try our best to be in our best form of being human, a chance to change our unwanted behaviors and wrongdoings with the power of prayer, when we understand the poor whenever we feel hungry and be more merciful to the people and creatures around us. It’s the time we stay hungry for long hours yet we feel the peaceful with the unity of the celebration of iftar all together, rushing to have sahur before the sunrise, to read Qur’an between while continuing our daily life such as going to work or school. Muslims do travel during the Ramadan but it’s most likely for the business purposes.
Turkish people love to spend Ramadan in their household where they invite guests for iftar, and visit each other with invitations & praying together through the month. Having an iftar with relatives, walking down to the mosque at the neighbourhood, right after ice cream chilling around, get back to read Qur’an or pray tahaccud and rush to prepare the sahur. This could be a typical type of Turkish household if they spend a normal day at home. However, Istanbulits have more broad tradition of spending Ramadan.
It’s truly a tradition of joyful celebration. The historic Sultanahmet Area is dresses up for the visitors of the holy month. The lighting message is held on the minarets of the Blue Mosque, a big bazaar is set up where the traditional arts, food, drinks and books are exhibited. On the other hand, the tv Ramadan shows live studios are set up in the center everyday to aired live on iftar time. Then people flood into here to have picnic style iftar all together. All the tables (set up for iftar during the Ramadan), park benches, grass areas are filled with the crowd who wants to break fasting here in this beautiful place. As a first time experience, it was quite strange and questinable for self, like why people even come more here although it’s already too crowded? Because if you didn’t bring any picnicking items, you have to pick up your take away food from the restaurants around after you have to wait for like 30 people in the cue, that you need to line up at least an hour before the iftar time. The crowd was a bit hard, the tourists were quite surprised. But, when the edhan starts, you just feel the feeling of the unity, beauty, and peace. It’s a wonderful feeling and an experience who have never been to an iftar with the Turks before. On my experience last year, I observed that everyone was sharing the food. We shared our food with a non-Muslim tourist from Columbia who she was just there to observe the crowd and experiencing it.
My first experience made me even wanna spend the Ramadan more in there and the Suleymaniye later.
After the iftar, going to the mosque to pray maghrib, we had to cue again because of the crowd feeling as if the whole Istanbul was there all alone! But, was wonderful at the same time because praying together is another great feeling to share.
Later, walking down to the bazaar area to grab some fresh classic Ottoman desserts or having a cone of famous Turkish ice cream, it’s all up to you. Crowd don’t get away easily, they lie down on fields, majority eat sunflower seeds, drinks tea and chit chat inside and outside the garden. Then terawih time comes. After terawih they either go back home or stay there till sahur. The city don’t sleep till the sunrise.
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