Kurban Bayrami, also known as The Sacrifice Feast, is a Muslim holiday which is celebrated in Turkey from the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah to the 13th day – or about 4 days in total. It is not only one of the oldest Islamic holidays celebrated in Turkey but is also one of the most important. During this holiday people visit their relatives and do good works for the poor. At the end of the festival, an animal is ritually sacrificed.
History of Kurban Bayrami
This holiday is used to celebrate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son when God asked him to do so. This showed that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own life, as well as the life of his loved ones, in submission to God’s will. When Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son, God intervened and told him that a human life should never be sacrificed in the name of God.
Kurban Bayrami Customs & Traditions
In Turkey, this 4-day festival is an official holiday. Many banks, schools, post offices and government buildings are closed during this period of time. Many stores will stay open, however, although they may be on a reduced holiday schedule. During this festival, public transportation may run less frequently and the highways may be crowded with traffic.
At dawn, the men of each family will go to the mosque and attend a special morning prayer. After this prayer, a sacrifice ritual will begin. The animal to be sacrificed is painted with henna and adorned with various ribbons. The person who performs the slaughter of the animal reads a special prayer and then the animal is sacrificed. According to tradition, two-thirds of the animal is shared with friends and family and one-third is donated to the poor.
Over the past few years, it has become customary for people to make donations to charity groups instead of performing an animal sacrifice. However, there are still parts of Turkey which are set aside for Kurban Bayrami tradition. These closed-off areas are the only areas where you can legally sacrifice a lamb or sheep for Kurban Bayrami. That is so governments can keep the area clean and hygenic and not have to worry about pathogens being spread from animal blood that may have otherwise been spilled onto the road.