From 1 to 4 February is is 'Kurban Bayrami' or the 'Feast of Sacrifice', commemorating the biblical time when Abraham was going to sacrifice his son for God but then saw a ram with with his horns tangled in the bushes and sacrificed the ram instead. This is one of the two main religious feasts/holidays in Turkey. The other is the end of the holy month of Ramazan (Ramadan) which, for 2004, will occur in November.
For Kurban Bayrami, every adult male or head of household traditionally sacrifices a sheep, goat or cow, killing the animal in a specified fashion. In the period leading up to the holiday herds of animals are commonly seen on vacant suburban land waiting to be sold. Some meat is consumed by the family and the remainding meat and skin is donated to the poor or charity. Some families, particularly in cities in western Turkey, forgo the sacrifice and instead donate money directly to the charities.
Like the end of Ramazan, Kurban Bayrami is a time of travel, of visiting friends and family. If they live in different areas of Turkey, often, this is the only time in the year when people see their extended families. This holiday, most of my neighbour's family are reuniting together in Mersin from several parts of Turkey. I won't be there as tonight I am on the bus to Denizli, southwestern Turkey. Choosing the trip was a difficult decision as I love my neighbours. In the end,
For the next five days I will travel with 4 Adana-based international AIESEC trainees. The plan is to visit the world heritage listed Pamukkale followed by the ancient city of Ephesus, Bodrum, Fethiye, Antalya....wherever else... The other participants are planning to travel until next weekend. I am coming back Thursday morning to hold up the fort at work. On Thursday and Friday there will be only 3 workers in the office instead of the usual 6 and only 1 English speaker (myself).
Personally, I am not overly concerned about the sights we see on the trip. My main attraction is travelling with some fun people and getting out of the office for a while.
This will be my first real travel since the trip to Syria in September!
Bayraminiz kutlu olsun!