The holy month Ramadan ended yesterday, muslims broke their fast for the last time yesterday evening and today we are celebrating Eid (Ramadan Feast). After a month of fasting, people enjoy this feast with sweet foods. The feast lasts three days and these adays are officially holiday for people to spend time and celebrate the feast with their families. The excitement of Eid starts at least one week before it comes. People do shopping to buy new clothes for themselves, but as you can guess the most excited ones are always children. Their parents buy new clothes and shoes for them to wear on Eid days and we call these “bayramlık” (clothes and shoes special for Eid). Even if they buy these weeks before the Eid, they don’t wear, but keep them in their gardrobes (or near their beds if they are so much excited) until the feast. It’s a lovely tradition for children to wear new and clean clothes during the feast. However, there are of course parents who can not afford new clothes and I can’t help thinking of them during these days. Some considerate people buy new clothes and give them to some poor children, but is that enough? I’m not sure. I wish clothes weren’t so important for these special days.
Besides the preperation of clothes, there is another preperation for Eid. Cleaning the house! When I say cleaning the house, I mean a real and complete cleaning. As they will have many guests during Eid days, women want to welcome their guests with a perfectly cleaned house. So women mop up everywhere, clean the windows, wash and iron the curtains, dust the cupboards and everywhere! We call this cleaning “Bayram Temizligi” (Eid Cleaning). After such a laborious cleaning, you may think that women start the feast so exhausted, but no, they are so strong that they don’t have any complaints about the other works waiting for them such as making a Turkish dessert and host their guests.
In fact, the celebration of the feast starts in the early morning. Fathers go to mosque to perform their ritual prayer called namaz and they take their sons with them. After namaz, people in mosque celebrate their Eid by shaking hands and wishing happy Eid to each other. Meanwhile, moms prepare a perfect breakfast with various boreks and newly brewed black tea. When fathers and sons return, they celebrate their Eid; mom and dad hug each other, children kiss their parents’ hands and put it on their forehead wishing happy Eid. Parents generally give some money to their children to make them happier, which is called “bayram harcligi” (Feast Allowance). Then they enjoy their breakfast and they feel that this breakfast has a different taste after a long fasting time.
After breakfast, their door bell starts to ring, they know it will ring many times today. A group of children (even the small ones) are waiting with bags in their hands no matter they know the house owner or not. And the owner of the house treat them with colorful candies or chocolate. Children take one or two candies happily and put them in their bags. When the children of that house see them, they immediately grab a bag and join the group as they are looking forward to picking candies from neighbors. They all know that it’s much more enjoyable to keep the candies until they finish all houses. At the end, they open their bags and show how they have plenty of candies and eat them together.
Children turn back to their houses not so late as they know their grandparents are waiting for them, so when they return, without any loss of time, with their parents, they go to their grandparents. They kiss the hands of grandparents in Turkish style and guess what? They are rewarded once more with the feast allowance. Then, they don’t forget their beloved ones who are not with them any more. They go to the graveyard to visit departed family members there. They pray for them and leave some candies on the grave.
After these, on the way home, people make short visits to their neighbors one by one to celebrate their Eid. Turkish desserts such as baklava and kadayif are served accompanying with Turkish tea or Turkish coffee. And while they are leaving, mostly the child of the house is waiting for them near the door with a bowl of candies or chocolate in one hand and a bottle of lemon cologne in other hand. S/he first offers the candies to the leaving guests and then drops some lemon cologne into the waiting palms of these guests. That’s the Turkish way of sending guests during this Ramadan Feast. Some people may also offer candies and the cologne as a way of welcoming the guests. And surprisingly, some people offer these two both to welcome and to send their guests. And people shouldn’t refuse any of these offerings at any of their visits, they are thought to be so rude if they say ‘no’. Can you imagine how sweet we become after Eid?
Personally, I didn’t want to buy candies from stores and I wanted to make something special for this Eid as I thought it would be more valuable for guests and especially for children. I made these natural candies from dates yesterday and as I understand from the eyes of children at my door, they loved it! And when their parents saw these home made candies, even they asked for the second one. I think I should have done more of these.
– 20 dates
– ½ cup pounded almond
– 2 tbsp orange juice
– 1 orange zest, chopped in very small cubes
To coat the date candies
– A handful of pounded pistachio
– A handful of crumbled hazelnuts
– A handful of chocolate chips
Pit the dates and put them in a mini chopper and chope them a few times. Then add orange juice to help them to have a right consistency. When it become like a date dough, take it to a bowl. Add pounded almon and chopped orange zest and combine them very well with your hands. Then take a walnut size piece, roll it in your palms, give it a ball shape and coat it with pistachio or hazelnut or chocolate chips. I used all of them to make my Eid candies more colorful.