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Custom Religious Holidays in Turkish Culture essay paper sample

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Turkey although in Europe is a predominantly Muslim country unlike other European countries, 99% of the population of Turkey are Muslims other religious groups are minorities (Abazov, 3). The country has two calendars; the official calendar is the same as other calendars that are used all over the world, also known as the Gregorian calendar. The country also uses the Hijri calendar for their religious festival, the Hijri calendar is a calendar based on the lunar. With the differences between the Gregorian and the Hijri calendar, most of the religious functions in the country are not fixed and instead are moved with the movement of the year.

In Turkey there are two most important religious holidays in this country that is a great source of happiness and merrymaking. The events holidays are Seker Bayrami , this holiday takes 3 days, the holiday will be celebrated after the end of the holy month of Ramadan annually according to the hijri calendar (Abazov, 17). The holiday comes after 30 days of fasting and it is believed to be the day that prophet Muhammad received the power of prophecy. The second holiday is  Kurban Bayrami  which takes 4 days and it is celebrated after the 70 days after Seker Bayrami. This feast also coincides with the muslims visit for hajj to Mecca.

In the Turkish language, Bayram represents the word "feast" or also it can mean "holiday", seker is is a Turkish word that means "sweets" and kurban is a word that represents "sacrifice". There are other holidays for the other religions such as Turkish Christians who celebrate Christmas as well as Good Friday and Easter. But the Christian holidays are not very popular and are not very much celebrated.

Dates in the religious Islamic holidays will always come 10 days earlier because of the difference between the Gregorian and Hijri calendars. The Hijri calendar has 354 days in a year while the Gregorian calendar has 365 days. Even though not all Turkish people are religious, this religious holidays in Turkey are big events and today they have become a huge tradition and are essential to the people. The religious holidays are considered as seriously as Christmas is regarded in the Christian nations. Families and individual will go out of their way to make huge preparations for this events, the things people do in turkey include, purchasing gifts,  cleaning their houses, doing shopping, purchasing of new clothes, ensuring they send greeting cards to friends and families and other acts in earnest preparation for this holidays.

During Seker Bayrami  first day of the holiday, people will rise very early in the morning, they will ensure they shower, use the best fragrance they have bought or use cologne and wear it on their clothes that they bought recently when they were preparing for the holidays, the clothes are still new. Most of the men will head to the mosques for the Morning Prayers that are very important especially during this time of the holidays, to thank Allah. All the government offices, schools, private business and most work unless essential services such as hospitals are closed

Young school aged children also go to the mosques with their fathers; this is done to ensure that as they grow they acquire the practice of practice of prating right from when they are young.  The mosques experience huge turnouts that all the people cannot be able to fit inside the worship areas. Even the courtyards in the mosques cannot be able to fit the number of worshippers who attend the prayers. People are therefore required to carry small carpets that they use for praying at home. Prayers overflow to the streets near the mosques as this are the only open places where people can pray from. The mosque Imams use this moments to give sermons to the worshippers as this is a rare opportunity for them to preach to such huge number of people at one time. The subject that is most preached on in this holidays is propagation of peace within the community and themselves. People are taught on the need to develop brotherhood and ensuring they do good deeds to all. With the end of prayers at the mosque people give each other feast greeting, this is done by shaking hands and hugging each other and they all return to their respective homes.

At home the holiday greetings will continue, since all at home are members of the traditional extended families and they live together, the holiday does not take much time like it is in the mosques and in public places. If people live in the nuclear family, the greetings might take long, as the member of the family with their children will make a point of visiting their parents or grandparents. They will carry with them give gifts, when there they will kiss the parents or grandparents hands, and proceed to eat chocolate or candies. Children will enjoy the holidays as during the holidays they will be given some small pocket money in as well as candies and a lot of chocolate. People will also visit a cemetery where their beloved members of their families who passed away have been buried and they feel it is important to visit them during the holidays for remembering them. People will carry flowers with them and also water the soil of the grave where their family members were buried.  The members of the family will also read the Koran for the sake of the deceased person.

After that all the visiting is over, now the shops that were closed will be opened, the Children are excited and anxious of spending the small pocket money that their parents gave them. They spend the pocket money in supermarkets, grocery shops, amusement parks, having a good time with their friends and other activities they will consider fun. The few days to come, visits among friends, neighbors, relatives and the people around will be the order of the day in the spirit if the holiday. The holidays are more important for people who live very far away from their families due to various reasons such as work, will take this opportunity to travel to their families so that they can spend the holidays together.

Kurban Bayrami holiday is almost celebrated the same as Seker Bayrami only that in this holiday the people will sacrifice an animal just like the name of the holiday states. The animal to be sacrificed can either be a goat,  ram or can even be a cow., it will be prepared for the sacrifice before the feast and can be scarified on the first day or later. the sacrifice of the animal shall be done by a member of the family or his representative. The meat is then divided into three 3 parts; for the people in the locality who are poor, for the relatives and neighbors and the rest is for the family. Sacrificing of animals in most cases is done in family courtyards next to their houses or if a family does not have a courtyard they can use public places specifically prepared for the sacrificing of animals for this holiday.  Families are also allowed to make donations that are of the same value of the sacrifice to charitable organizations. 

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