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Kurban Bayram

Kurban Bayram is a four day festival, and is one of the two main religious holidays in the Moslem calendar. In terms of religious significance, it can be equated to Christmas in Christian countries.

The festival celebrates the story in both the Bible and Koran of how the prophet Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son in order to prove his total obedience to God. At the last minute, he is stopped by God who provides a ram for the sacrifice instead. In celebration of this event, the head of each household would sacrifice a sheep on the first day of the holiday. Traditionally a third of the meat was cooked at home by the owner of the animal, another third was distributed between neighbours and relatives, with the remainder being given to the poor.

In more recent years, Moslems have started to make donations to charity rather than sacrificing animals, and like Christmas, the Bayram has become little more than a chance to take a holiday rather than having any real religious significance.

In more traditional neighbourhoods, the young still visit older family members, and traditionally kiss the hand of the old person, putting it to their forehead. Families frequently meet at the house of the oldest member and eat a meal together.

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