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iyi bayramlar

Family, food, Traditionsemily kisaComment

Delicious sweets for the Seker Bayram(sweet holiday). My mother in law made the beautiful sweet in pan in the photo above. She took these thin flour noodles(it reminds me a bit of shredded wheat cereal) then adds a sugar/water mixture, there is a layer of fresh walnuts in the middle and then it is baked. It is a sweet, wet, spongy dessert. Really good!

Right now is a holiday in Turkey. Many Muslims had been fasting for this last month of Ramadan(my Turkish family and I not included). For the last month followers wake up before the morning azan(call to prayer/sunrise) and quick eat because for the whole day until the last azan(sunset) they are not eating, smoking, drinking(even water) for the whole day. I have been told it is so they can empathize with the poor and show their piety to Allah. They exercise restraint.

Like many originally religious holidays(Christmas ring a bell) this celebration of breaking the fast has become a national holiday for even non-practicing muslims. Children are off from school, most are not working and it is a great time to be with loved ones.

In the morning I was woken up to come downstairs and to bring a little money??? OK why? I was greeted with the family lined up in a row and we all went through kissing Ali,our eldest's hand and then you place the hand on your forehead. Followed by Turkish cheek to cheek kisses. After we all kissed Ali then Baran, the youngest, our nephew and only child in the house went around and did the same to us, kiss the hand to forehead and after Turkish kisses. This is where the money part came in, we slip him a little cash after. I guess back in the day or maybe in more traditional households the bread winners/ elders would have given us all money. I also would have kissed my husband's hand and he would have given me money(we didn't do this one). But it has turned into more of a fun thing for kid's to get a little para(cash). The day for many is followed by traveling around visiting relatives, friends and loved ones. At each house you are offered(and it seems you can't turn down) some sweet, candy, chocolate, baklava etc. hence the name seker bayram(sugar festival). The children kiss more hands and are given more coins. The newspapers are warning against excessive sweet consumption after a month of excessive fasting. But either way it is a nice long holiday to visit loved ones.