CONTRIBUTED BY TUTI HAWKINS
This past Saturday we were honored to be invited to witness the Turkish Kurban Bayram Sacrifice. A major 4 day holiday each year for the Turkish people. The “Sacrifice Feast” is one of the oldest Islamic holidays in Turkey for Muslims. It commemorates the story about the Prophet Abraham who showed obedience to God by agreeing to sacrifice his son. God then sent him a ram to be sacrificed instead. In this case a sheep was sacrifice because we’re told the Ram is expensive, plus the meat is too tough to eat.
The night before Oct 4th, families pray over the sheep to be sacrificed. They feed it food, give it water and care for the sheep. Then the first day of the sacrifice (Oct 4th for this year) the men go to the mosque for morning prayer. The women pray at home in solidarity. Once the men return from the mosque, the family continues to pray over the sheep and then the “killing/cutting of the sheep” begins. The next three days are a time of celebration among Muslim family and friends. Turkish people bring out their best dress for this occasion.
Even though a sheep was killed for this holiday celebration, the meaning behind the whole ritual was quite interesting. After the sacrifice, families share about 2/3 of the animals’ meat with relatives and neighbors, and they traditionally give about 1/3 to the poor. I have to say, the Turkish people are very proud people. Even though they do not have a lot of money, nice clothes, or a big house they are very gracious hosts.
Did you know that the average income for full-time employment here in Adana pays about 250TL (Turkish lira) per week? That’s about $115! And the Turkish people also have taxes and health insurance to pay for as well! My husband and I have learned so much about the Turkish people and Muslim culture. Living here in Turkey has definitely humbled us for sure!
If you’d like to learn more about this important holiday, check out the below links to articles I’ve come across: