The 30-day Islamic sacred month of Ramazan ( called Ramadan in other countries). It is a time of fasting, prayer, and celebration. (Ramazan dates are available here.) It can also influence your travel plans.
Fasting means not eating or drinking at all: no food, drink, chewing gum, tobacco smoke or, for the strictly observant from sunrise to sunset. Muslims should also avoid from sexual intercourse during daytime in the holy month.
Most Muslims, either strictly believers or not, use the sacred month and the control of fasting to help them explore their lives, to remind themselves of values like charity, kindness, and mercy, and to avoid vices like greed, selfishness, and hypocrisy.
A lot of Turkish people fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramazan. Eateries are less busy at lunch, and there’s also less Turkish tea around.
If you’re in Turkey during Ramazan, it’s polite to avoid from eating and drinking in public during daytime hours. Preferably, do it indoors a restaurant, tea house, cafe (some of which will be running, except in Konya), or other individual or semi-private area.
Muslim restaurant and cafe staff, which may be fasting themselves, will know if you are non-Muslim and they will be happy to serve you. Some eateries may cover their windows so as not to distract those fasting by the eyesight of others eating.
Ramazan is also a time of holiday, and after sunset, the feasting starts with a ritual “break-fast” light meal called Iftar.
Iftar always involves freshly-baked flat pide bread, and regularly, soup, pickled vegetables, olives, and other easily-prepared goods. Detailed dinners are held later in the evening.
Strings of colored lights decoration trees and buildings, mosques are decorated and crowded with worshippers.
A carnival atmosphere controls with temporary booths selling religious books and material, fabulous snacks and stuff for the kids.
In the middle of the night, drummers walk through towns and villages to wake sleepers so they can plan Sahur, the big early-morning meal to be eaten before the fast starts again at dawn. They manage to make their noise around 02:30 and 03:00 am, and they make sure everybody hears them. If you don’t want to awake, have earplugs, close your hotel room windows or both.
Many restaurants offer special banquet-like Ramazan menus at night.
Some restaurants which serve alcoholic drinks may refrain from doing so during the holy month, giving fruit juices and other drinks alternately. It would be proper for you to observe this binding if you are in a business where others are refraining from alcohol. (In some establishments, alcohol service may resume after the evening’s main meal is mostly concluded.)
Non-Muslims are welcome and regularly requested to join in the evening celebrations, which are great fun. Experience this special time!
Ramazan is followed by the three-day celebration of Ramazan (Şeker) Bayramı.