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The holy month of Ramazan (Ramadan) begins on Tuesday 9th July 2013 when observant Muslim’s will fast from sunrise to sunset. What is it all about and how could it affect you if you plan to go on holiday to Turkey over that time?

Observing Ramazan, the holy month, is very important for Muslims worldwide as it is one of the five basic duties of the faith.

It is a time of fasting, prayer and celebration.

It is also a time for contemplation when people examine their own lives, understand the gift of eating when they feel like it and remind themselves of virtues such as charity, compassion and forgiveness

During the period between sunrise and sunset nothing will pass the lips – no food, drink, smoke or chewing gum.

Observant fasters will also not swim or shower during the day time fast in case water passes the lips.

But, when the sun sets, the fast is broken and participants will celebrate with a feast known as the Iftar – ‘Break-fast’.

The date of Ramazan changes by 11 days each year (earlier) and this year it will begin on the night of Tuesday 9th July and end 30 days later on the evening of the 7th August.

At the end of Ramazan a three day holiday known as Seker Bayrami celebrates the end of the fast.

Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar. However, the date on the Gregorian calendar, the one we use, varies from year to year. This is because since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar.

This difference means Ramadan moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year.

The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not. So in North America Ramadan starts a day later than in Turkey.

As the fast is now well into the summer months it will bring with it additional pressures of heat and a very long day.

Imagine not drinking any water in this heat and you’ll soon understand the sacrifice people are putting themselves through.

Not only that but smokers will also be climbing the walls too without their fix of nicotine.

The Turks describe the side effects of fasting as Ramazan 'kafasi', or 'Ramazan Head' in English, that distant, irritable, and some may say, spaced out feeling of going without.

In fact many tourists will probably be blissfully unaware of not only Ramazan but also that their waiters or other hotel staff are fasting.

You will see people (Tourists and some Turks) eating, drinking and smoking during the day, but it's good form to be considerate to those Turkish people who are fasting and do any consumption subtly.

This is particularly the case if you smoke - walking down the street puffing away isn't going to make you popular with those with a nicotine craving.

Religious beliefs can be strong so don't let people see you eat/drink or smoke in public.

If you are travelling outside a tourist area you may find it difficult to find anywhere to eat during the day so take some food and drink with you.

A few things to watch out for:


Some people fasting will be irritable especially in the first few days so be extra careful to be polite and respectful in your day to day dealings with people.

Crazy or Crazier Driving

Around dusk the hungry faster will speed home for their Iftar meal.

Hungry, dying for a fag and with low blood sugar their driving will be even more erratic than normal.

Bang Bang - The Ramazan Drummer

It's dying out now but this person stalks the streets in the early morning (from 2:30 am in some cases) beating his drum to awake the fasters for their breakfast.

The drum is very effective at waking people up because the drummer uses uneven and therefore annoying beats.

Special Foods

During the period of Ramazan, a special bread becomes available (called Pide) which is large and round and sprinkled with black cumin seeds. [These make great bases for French bread style pizza].

Supermarkets will also sell Ramazan hampers stocked with certain foods. These are given as gifts by employers to their staff.

Office Hours

Some business may have shorter opening hours during Ramazan so keep an eye out for signs advising of the times.


If you are travelling away from the popular resorts restaurants may only service one meal, the Iftar meal, at sunset and only with a reservation.

Those restaurants may also refuse to sell you alcohol.

If you don’t want to go hungry plan ahead.


Be aware that public transport will be full at the end of Ramazan for the three day Seker Bayrami festival.

If you must travel on these days make sure you book well in advance.

North west
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1. Re: Ramadan

Excellent stuff Sue.

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2. Re: Ramadan

So it wouldn't really effect if you where in icmeler? An interesting read sue

Destination Expert
for Gumbet, Bitez
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3. Re: Ramadan

You will probably hardly notice in the resorts.

Destination Expert
for Icmeler
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4. Re: Ramadan

No it wont affect us at all but you may notice a few grumpy people lol

Livingston, United...
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5. Re: Ramadan

Fantastic,very informative

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6. Re: Ramadan

Sue, that is a brilliant write up on their fasting period. As you say not all Turkish people adhere to this, because they are not muslim I am sure but hats off to those who do, I wouldn't be able to keep to it in the heat of the day and when my belly is rumbling!!!

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7. Re: Ramadan

Those that dont fast donate money to charities

Durham, United...
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8. Re: Ramadan

Great information Sue.

I once heard that water was allowed if you were working and the temperatures were extreme?

I was there a few years in October during Ramadan and didnt realise until it ended.

Fethiye, Turkey
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9. Re: Ramadan

Hello Sue,

This is a very well written and thoughtful piece which explains the purpose of Ramazan for the Turkish muslim participants to us foreigners.

The traffic on the roads here will be a whole lot more dangerous during this period, everyone take care!!


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10. Re: Ramadan

With Ramadan ending tonight and the festival of EID being celebrated for the next 3 days I imagine any grumpiness will be replaced with excitement.

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