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Updated: Oct 20, 2021

At last we could meet again physically for a Coffee Morning!

It was a perfect spring day in the Swiss Residence gardens. All the participants enjoyed very much this opportunity to seat under blossoming trees, listen to a very interesting expose on Ramadan traditions in Turkey and spend time with each other. Knowing that we will be in full lockdown a couple of days later made that moment even more special!


SHOM President Kees expressed his pleasure to meet again onsite and thanked Fabienne for hosting this event.

As usual, the meeting started with some SHOM news.


Exceptionally we had no friends departing this month.

We would like to welcome the following persons to our SHOM Ankara community.

It was a great pleasure to meet Mandana and Ana during the Coffee Morning.

The membership fee (200 TL) can be paid to the treasurer (See address below or to your regional coordinator). Don't forget to put your name and country/ international organisations you represent on the envelop. A recipe will then be given/sent to you. Mrs Larysa RYBAK, Embassy of Belarus, Abidin Daver sok., 17, Çankaya


In April Associate Professor Yigit H. Erbit gave SHOM Ankara the following lecture "The Hittites and their Cult practices: Water cult in the Hittite Belief System" .

It was a very enriching moment and we hope to pursue the lecture with a site visit whenever the Covid-19 situation will allow us to do it.

News from the SHOM Groups:

  • The SHOM Yoga Group: have a look at the books we read and help us to decide on what we will read next.

  • The SHOM Yoga Group: will start a new yoga routine on Tuesday 11 May. An excellent opportunity to join us. Click here to get the ZOOM Link and watch videos from previous routines.

  • The SHOM Walking Group had great walks and picnic moments at Eymir Lake. Have a look at the pictures here.

  • The SHOM mahjong Group meets again. Click here to get the next play date.


Our dear friends Ince Botsali (former DMEDD chairperson) and Fazilet Ersoy (former DMEDD General Secretary) gave us an overview of the Turkish traditions during the Ramadan time. Kees Van Lent took this opportunity to acknowledge the close bonds DMEDD and SHOM Ankara have developed thanks to both of them.

The holy month of Ramadan, or 'Ramazan' as it is known in Turkey, is a special time for all Muslims as it marks the time the Quran was first shown to Prophet Muhammad.

For non-Muslims, Ramadan is perhaps best known as the period of fasting, when Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sundown each day for 30 days.

But this month means more than that... It is time for prayer and reflection, tolerance to others and sharing, forgoing physical pleasures and giving of alms (zekat).

Not all Turkish Muslims fast. It is a personal decision which sees no consequences if someone doesn't do it. In Turkey, the restaurants, cafes are open for all day long during Ramazan and the majority of the population carries on business as usual. You won't know somebody is fasting (except for the children/elderly/ sick/ expecting-breastfeeding mothers who are always exempt). It is therefore important to be respectful and show understanding during this period.

One has the choice to abstain, offering money to charities instead for not completing /doing the fast: it is called fitre.

Every year an amount for this purpose is set (28TL in 2021). The municipalities keep a list of persons who could benefit of those meals.

  • IFTAR: The meal eaten at the end of the fast, traditionally broken with a sip of water and by eating dates (The Prophet Muhammad broke fast with three dates). There is no set menu or specifications for iftar, but in Turkey the Ramazan pidesi is a must. By its side, you will generally find salads, soups, olives, other easily-prepared edibles and a main meat dish. Elaborate dinners can be held later in the evening. One of the most important aspects of iftar is the sweets – güllaç (a pudding made of starch yufka layers, milk, sugar, nuts, rose-water and pomegranate seeds) is one of the traditional desserts that is often found only during Ramadan.

  • SAHUR: The meal eaten before starting fasting. It takes place before sunrise, mainly consisting of Turkish traditional breakfast foods, although the focus is often on those containing a lot of water, such as yoghurt. But every family has its tradition: Ince told us about the freshly made börek in hers.

  • IFTAR GATHERINGS In normal times (without Covid-19) you see people gathering en-mass before sunset in many areas of a city/village as local councils often put on large scale Iftar feasts in parks and other government grounds. It is a time for sharing, for joining friends and family.

  • CANNONS AT SUNDOWN. You may hear a bang as the sun goes down during Ramadan, if so, don't be surprised! Another Ramadan tradition in Turkey are the cannons at sunset (top sesi). A centuries old tradition, a cannon is fired to announce 'Iftar'. This is another fading tradition but one many areas still embrace. There are a number of cannons fired around Istanbul, Ankara, and other towns and popular destinations along the coast.

  • MAHYA: The short Ramadan message written with the use of bulbs and hung between two minarets of major mosques. The bulbs are lit at the call for the evening prayer to announce the time for iftar.

  • RAMAZAN DRUMMERS One of the most charming but sometimes noisy Ramadan traditions in Turkey are the early morning drummers. Each day before sunrise, they wander the streets beating drums and singing mani (short poems inciting people to wake up in time for sahur). This tradition dates back to Ottoman times, well before the advent of alarm clocks.

  • RAMAZAN BAYRAMI or ŞEKER BAYRAMI : The three-days holiday to celebrate the end of Ramazan is a special time for all. People clean their house, shop for candies and chocolate, prepare traditional pastries. It is important to look groomed, dashing with specially purchased clothes for the occasion (bayramlık). This is the time to go to the mosque, paying alms to the poor and the needy, honour the elderly, visit relatives and friends, and entertain visitors.

    • People greet each other by saying Bayramınız Kutlu/Mübarek Olsun, meaning “May Your Feast Be Blessed”.

    • This celebration could be likened to Easter in the Christian tradition due to the amount of sugar and sweets dished out. 'Şeker' means 'sugar' in Turkish and this is the traditional gift given to mark the occasion. Children are going around wishing their neighbours happy Bayram and getting few sweets for their gesture.

    • Fazi told us it was her favourite period as child: after kissing the hand of the elderly you will receive money in a handkerchief with chocolate or/and sweets. She showed us a lovely table cloth sewed together with some of the lace handkerchieves her grandmother gave her during Seker Bayrami.

    • Traditionally the handkerchieves are folded in triangle for girls and square for boys. Their aim is not to show the money contained inside.

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