As you all know by now, I am cocooned in my own little plaster cast world of home.
But outside in the real world, it’s Ramazan, the month-long period of fasting, which began on Tuesday the 9th. I knew the date as it is TT’s birthday!
I also know it because in the early hours on that first night, I was woken by a loud banging which sounded like a barrel (or two) being rolled full speed down a hill. For a second, I thought the cars out there were being extra noisy but then the penny dropped: the Ramazan Drummer or davulcu!
Yes, in some districts, predominantly the more conservative ones, this traditional drumming signifies wakie-wakie, time to get up, time for sahur or breakfast before sunrise after which it is forbidden for anything to pass your lips till sunset. Apparently there’s a whole mafia of drummers out there and they are not necessarily popular with everyone! (At the end of Ramazan, they come round knocking on every door expecting a tip!).
I also know it’s Ramazan because at around 5pm, our kapıcı – loosely translated as doorman – rings the bell to deliver a freshly-baked pide, the traditional large round bread associated with this holy month. It’s divine: hot, fragrant and frankly, irresistible. That’s why after the first day, we have told Ferzan not to bring it! Yes, I know: killjoys, aren’t we.
(For more info about pide, click here: Turkish Ramazan Pide)
Sahur is breakfast; iftar is the fast-breaking evening meal.
Here’s another link if you’re interested in what they do in the villages (well, in Paşaköy near Assos): Ramazan Reflections
- Traditionally the big Istanbul municipalities or belediye erect huge tents where people can enjoy iftar together. This year following the dramatic events here, there is something really special which you can see in the pic above: a group called the Anti-Capitalist Moslems laid out a very special iftar all along the pedestrianized street of Istiklal, a major off-shoot of Takslm. In Taksim itself, there are tables and chairs – in lieu of a tent – set out all over the square by the Beyoğlu Belediye, and then just a few metres away, there is an huge long row of people sitting on the ground, using newspapers as tablecloths, who have come together to celebrate iftar in their own way. What a unique sight despite the ever-present police lurking. I wish I could trundle over to see it for myself.
- Something else Turkish not related to Ramazan: Daughter No 2 has a new mani-pedi place near her home on the other side and has started going, thereby making a new friend of the charming owner. Needless to say, the story of her mother’s foot emerged (mine!), and the lady said what she (me!) must have are these special big black dried raisins to help the bone mend.
So a few days ago, true to her word, along came a neat little bag containing 10 small ziplock bags inside, each with a handful of these big fat raisins!
I don’t know if they have any magical qualities but I was touched by the kind gesture. Sometimes that alone is enough to make you feel better.
- Let me also mention my own friends, family and faithful blog followers who have been such a great support throughout this what I can only describe as ordeal.
Phone calls, visits, books, magazines, flowers, cakes, DVDs – nothing has been too much for you guys: