Ever since the acceptance of Islam by the Turks, Ramadan Eids have been heartily celebrated in both the spiritual and social sense. In the past, the sahoor and iftar feasts would be set up for the poor in religious lodges called dergahs, or at public soup-kitchens and caravansaries under the administration of the waqfs.
This month, which adds colour the social life of Turks, has also led to the surfacing and spreading of many activities. Following the breaking of the fast together at the shared tables, people would enjoy themselves with performances of public storytellers and shadow shows. These activities would either speak of the heroic stories of the past or stage a satire-humour show. It was also during Ramadan in which the traditional Turkish theatrical plays called “Theatre-in-the-round” would be performed more frequently.
Turkish literature would also be a part of these shows. It is possible to come across various gazelles, odes and rubaies about Ramadan. Another tradition that comes to mind during Ramadan are the mahyas (ridgetiles) extended between the minarats of the mosques. In Persian language, mahya means “monthly” and is used specifically for the month of Ramadan. This tradition, which also begun to be practiced during the Ottoman period, still continues today. Another tradition that continues to exist is the long iftar tables and street fairs set up throughout the various areas of the city. As well as the rich variety of foods and desserts, people would converse over sweet sherbets and coffee. If, by any chance, you happen to visit the Sultanahmet Arena in Istanbul or the famous Başçarşı in Sarajevo during the month of Ramadan, you will have the opportunity of getting a sense of the beauties of the past.