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  • Chris Cunliffe

Ramadan Feast in Turkey


Turkey is a destination that has it all. Scenery varying from mountain landscapes to pristine coastlines, bustling metropolis cities known around the world to secret hideaway villages, plus a rich and diverse food scene that stems from historical pride to modern day innovative dishes. The last one in particular is known as Turkey’s great standout feature. The ability to create mouth watering, fresh and varied foods with iconic dishes scattered throughout the country. There is no doubt that food is synonymous with the nation and such a key part of its culture, heritage and identity. However, one time of year presents a whole new take on this, as the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar brings Ramadan, a time when Muslims worldwide practice fasting to bring to the forefront self-discipline and spiritual reflection. Below will guide you through some of the key foods, festivities and traditions of Ramadan in Turkey so you can immerse yourself fully in this special time of year.




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Turkey observes the holy month with great celebration, characterised by colourful customs, impressive fare, and a sense of shared humanity that extends beyond national boundaries. During your visit to Turkey, engage in the joys of Ramadan, where ancient customs are mixed with modern festivities. The celebration of Ramadan in Turkey is not just a religious event but also reflects the cultural diversity of the people. Families come together for Iftar, the end of the fast, with prayers and gratitude as the sun sets. Streets are filled with merry markets and lively social events, creating an atmosphere of warmth and camaraderie.


Spectacular Food


The food scene in Turkey is always full of mouth-watering dishes at anytime but during the month of Ramadan this is escalated to new levels. The food culture of Turkey during Ramadan offers a diverse range of dishes. Those that are popular during this time include hearty snacks like "börek" stuffed with cheese, spinach and a multitude of other options to sweet treats like "baklava" filled with honey and nuts.


Turkey's celebration of Ramadan includes a lavish buffet known as "Iftar Sofrasi" that features various delicacies such as the Turkish flatbread, lentil soup, sweet pastrys, şekerpare, and kebab. The dishes not only satisfy hunger but also embody the Turkish culture's commitment to generosity and hospitality.


In Turkey, the timing and observance of Ramadan means people change their way of life to fit in with this holy season. Before sunrise, people consume "sahur," a meal that is eaten before breakfast to keep the energy levels going throughout the day. As the call to prayer reverberates throughout the city, and the sun sets, families gather for Iftar, a communal event that brings them all together where people can feast upon the delicious dishes.



Turkish Iftar


Travelling during this period


Ramadan tourism in Turkey can be a valuable experience for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the culture and culinary delight of this holy month. As this month presents a change to the majority of locals dining times and their ways of living, this might present some changes that you have to adapt to whilst in Turkey, if you are not engaging in the fasting. Whilst some restaurants may change opening hours though, there are many others that remain open to tourists. This is definitely the case in large tourist cities such as Istanbul, though also the same at the popular coastal destinations.


However, you may want to remain vigilant in case of locals fasting around you. Therefore, during Ramadan you may want to observe local customs and traditions, as well as not disrespecting or causing discomfort for those who are without food. Be aware of drinking or eating in public during fasting hours whilst walking through the busy streets and markets due to consideration for fast-goers.


Ramadan festivities & activities


Mesir Macunu Festival

Ramadan is celebrated in style in Manisa with the Mesir Macunu Festival, which is held every year, is a well-known tradition and is known for its festive atmosphere. The festival honors the healing properties of a particular paste and invites locals and visitors to participate in music, dance, and folklore, with aromas of spices filling the air. Witness the vibrant festivities of Mesir Macunu and immerse yourself in Turkish culture.



Ramadan Festival


The Historic Districts of Istanbul

Experience the magic of fasting among these iconic structures. Here you will find the typical iftar meals everywhere with families indulging in the treats as the sunsets. Wander the winding roads of Sultanahmet or Eminönü at night, and watch the change as families savor Turkish cuisine by sitting around tables. Iftar offers a chance to participate in the communal experience with mosques inviting everyone to prayer and feast.



Istanbul Streets


Istanbul's Grand Bazaar Night Market

This famous market, maybe the most famous in the world, offers a unique experience for those who are eager to indulge in their desires during Ramadan. Walk through a maze of vendors selling everything from traditional art to fine food, and smell the freshly prepared street food. Explore the sights, smells and offerings of this renowned market, a true representation of Ramadan in Turkey.

 


Grand Bazaar


Embrace Religion


Charitable activities

Ramadan is a time to feel the hunger of those who are not privileged, plus engage in helping others who are not as fortunate as we are. Therefore, taking part in Ramadan activities by doing something truly good for the poor. Ramadan brings many blessings and opportunities, from volunteering at a soup kitchen or handing out package/kitchen packages to the poor, to contributing to local charities. Make a difference in the community and contribute during this season.



Food Kitchen


Religious sites

Seek inner tranquility and spiritual enlightenment in Turkey's ancient holy sites. In Turkey, Ramadan is a time of celebration, but also reflection providing tourists with an opportunity to explore their own culture. During Ramadan, Turkish society embraces hospitality and inclusivity in all its forms, and a visit to the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul, or the other iconic mosques that stand above the cities in almost every district will really help you to connect with the culture, learn more about Islam and the accompanying traditions.

During Ramadan, as you embark on a journey to Turkey, immerse yourself in the culture, food, and memories of this remarkable country.



Istanbul Mosque


We hope you enjoyed this blog post about Ramadan in Turkey. To continue discovering more hidden gems and captivating destinations, stay tuned for more articles on our website. Follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on new releases and join us as we embark on new adventures. We will be back soon with a new article!

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