This morning we went to Eminönü. It’s almost the last day of fasting and this long month of Ramazan, the most sacred month of Islam, will finish tomorrow night at sunset. I imagine those who have been fasting will give a deep sigh of relief – but who am I to say?
|from Karaköy looking towards the Old City|
For those who don’t know, Eminönü lies within the heart of the Old City, an area where you can still get a sense of old Istanbul. The myriad little streets were teeming with people, especially as the day wore on. There was a real feeling of anticipation building up, it wasn’t just the regular hustle and bustle. It was intensified.
|queues in front of Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, right by the Spice Bazaar,buying the excellent ground coffee in anticipation of visitors in the next few days. We bought some too: 100g for 3 TL|
|the coffee place happens to be right opposite my favourite peynirci or cheese seller,whom I have
mentioned before so, yes, I bought another kalıp of his white cheese which comes
from Thrace – believe me, it’s the best!
After a month of deprivation, the first day of Şeker Bayramı starts on Monday. Tomorrow night is Arefe, the night before, an important time indeed. Bayram means feast or holiday, and şeker literally means sweet or sugar.
Thus today, people were already in holiday mode and that, like everywhere in the world, implies more relaxed spending especially in this case, on sweets or candy, and typical Turkish treats like baklava!
|baklava at Güllüoğlu – TT had his favourite pistachio/fıstıklı ezme, at Develi, just down from the coffee place|
|piles of sweeties and their bayram prices were prominently displayed everywhere you looked|
|also the more traditional lokum or Turkish delight…|
|everybody in shopping mode|
Over the bayram, all the little kids will be kitted out in new outfits, faces glowing both from healthy scrubbings and from excitement, and families will both visit and be visited. The rule is the younger members visit their elders first. Traditionally they will kiss their hands and raise them to their foreheads in a sign of respect.
Happy Holidays to you all from Istanbul!