After a month of fasting, the celebration weekend Ramazan Bayram begins. Fasting lasts a month, from the time the sun rises till it goes down you must not eat or drink anything. Throughout the month alcohol and cigarettes are not permitted even after sunset.
After the sun has set, the food is good but simple, gluttony is prohibited and the drinks are alcohol-free.
Among North Cypriots, many people might fast for a few days or not at all. The mainland Turks who live here are stricter in their beliefs and follow the rules more closely.
When the fast is over the festivities begin. This year, Lent is over on July 27th and then Arefe begins in the evening where family and friends gather to have a big feast to celebrate the start of Bayram. Often the North Cypriots gather at a restaurant to celebrate, table reservation is advisable in this period.
This feast is also called the Sugar Feast, after famine, comes abundance. You often see children running from door to door to get candy, when they knock on your door be sure to have some candy ready for them and if you visit someone’s home, you should always bring sweets for the children.
The adults show their reverence for parents and elders by kissing the back of their hand and pressing it against their own forehead. This is a general gesture of respect for those who are older but more importantly to do right during major holidays and anniversaries.
Festivities last for three days. All banks and government offices are closed.
Consider that the last open day before the weekend is Friday 25th July and it is closed until Thurs 31st July when everything returns to normal.
Tip: Take enough money out so that it lasts over the weekend because often the money runs out in ATMs since this is a weekend where a lot of money is spent.
All supermarkets are in the evenings, before the weekend starts, are overcrowded with people shopping for the festivities so it is advisable to do all your shopping in the morning or during the day.
Many people take vacations during the three days after Bayram so that they have a continuous break of nine days. This means that many businesses, companies and clinics are closed.
You can liken this weekend with our holiday season when we meet the family, eat and drink well for several days.
Everyone greets everyone with the phrase “Bayramınız kutlu olsun” but you can also say “Happy Bayram”
Bayramınız kutlu olsun.