Celebrating kurban bayram with Berkay..


Tuesday 15th October marked the first day of the Muslim festival Eid-al-adha (kurban bayram in Turkish). If you aren’t aware of what kurban bayram is, you can check back at my previous post.. ”what is kurban bayram?” which explains all you need to know.

Most people celebrate bayram with their families, but Berkay is not close to his and doesn’t really keep in touch with them. He also has to work all over the holidays as it is the hotel’s busiest time. Last year we celebrated together with a BBQ and a walk along the seafront, but this year he was alone. Luckily, he has a great friend who works with him at the hotel, someone who he has grown really close to and who is like a father to him (his name is Ergun, he’ll probably be mentioned a lot!). They invited him to their village house for the day to celebrate so he didn’t have to be alone.

First he went off to Ergun’s brother’s house for breakfast which was the typical Turkish type, eggs, bread, honey, cucumber, tomato, cheese, olives and of course a glass or two of cay!
They then went around to a few other family members houses. When they got to Ergun’s wife’s family house, they sacrificed their first sheep. This is something that is supposed to be done by professional butchers, in order to minimize stress to the animal and get it done as fast and humanely as possible. I suspect that an awful lot of people do not actually follow these rules, and carry out the sacrifice themselves, which is what Berkay’s friend and all his family do. Obviously though, the rules are there for a reason, and should be stuck to.

After skinning and cleaning up the first animal, they visited Ergun’s brothers house, and performed the sacrifice over again with another animal, this time a goat.
After that, they ate lunch, he didn’t tell me what was on the menu, but I presume it was extremely fresh meat..
After lunch, they returned back to their village house where they sacrificed their own goat.
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I asked Berkay to take these photos for me to share on here and give everyone more of an insight into the whole experience, but I do understand they may offend or disturb some readers, hence the warning at the start of the post.

I have seen discussions saying the act of killing so many animals for a religious festival is barbaric and wrong, although the same people complaining are not vegetarians themselves, and enjoy eating meat. The reason we find it so cruel, is that we are too used to having easy access to meat in supermarkets and shops, meat from animals that are already killed, then cut up and neatly packaged. We pick up the meat off the shelves and take it home to cook without a second thought as to where it has really come from, we don’t think about the poor animal it once formed. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

Personally, as long as the sacrifice is done correctly and the whole process is over quickly with limited suffering to the animal, I see nothing wrong with it. Sure, it’s not pleasant and I would never be able to do it myself, but It’s the circle of life, and an important part of celebrating kurban bayram in Turkish culture.

I hope everyone who celebrates Eid had a wonderful few days, now all the remaining sheep & goats can breathe a sigh of relief, until the next bayram..or wedding.. or funeral.. or birth! The Turks sure do like to celebrate special occasions by killing a sheep or two.

23 thoughts on “Celebrating kurban bayram with Berkay..

  1. Danni i love reading your blogs , i agree with you i couldnt watch it or do it but it is part of their festival and like you say ignorance is bliss, we are so used to picking up meat at the supermarket and not thinking about it. Thank you for telling us all about it and i,m glad Berkay had a good day. xxx

  2. Soo true about, that we pick our meat from the supermarket & dont realise that the meat HAS to be killed by someone in the abatuoire (sorry about spelling)….lol… If you eat meat then its been killed…. by whom it does’nt matter. Just enjoy….. (unless your a veggie)……lol…. x x x x

  3. My neighbour sacrificed a sheep and gave us a big piece, my partner said it is traditional to cook and eat straight away, so we had lamb and bread for breakfast, very nice x My partners uncle is a butcher in a village in Denizli, he phoned him to say iyi bayramlar and asked how he was, he said he had been called to kill 12 goats that morning and was at that time resting in the local Cay bahcesi! My partner says that when he was a child they would cook the meat all day, adding extra everytime some was eaten so that if visitors came there was always some for them to eat. I will say though that now he doesnt agree with the practise, he thinks its an outdated culture and nothing to do with the teachings of the Koran

  4. I am being honest if that animal ad been killed whatever way I cud not eat it but ye true if it’s in a pack it’s ok it’s called ingnorance wat we don’t see then y bother I went to turkey wen they used to tie little goats and sheep up on the Turks fences the streets wer full of blood on that day I dint go out I was mortified but if we see wat we do in Britain it’s a dam sight worse than turkey

  5. i agree it is true we pick up meat in our supermarket and take it home and cook it. The thing that upsets me is,’ some one keeping a animal as a pet and the animal trusts the human and then the human kills and eats it….sad

  6. i love ur blogs and know iyi bayramlar its there country we have to respect there belives after 24 times in turkey i feel like am a native ,hope u r doing well in uk danni xxx

  7. With the rules we have here now that shouldn’t allow for slaughter unless in designated areas and by experts, things are much improved.

    I am a meat eater and would be a hypocrite if I objected to this. In any case I suspect that there is much more suffering in abattoirs in the UK and elsewhere.

    If we don’t want to watch, we don’t have to. We have a choice. But this is a tradition of centuries and we don’t have the right to change it.

  8. If it is done properly it is much kinder to the animals than the slaughterhouses of the UK and Europe, and also the meat tastes better as the animal is not stressed and therefore doesn’t have the stress hormones in the meat. Love your blog, I feel for you being parted, hope it is not for too long.

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  10. Pingback: Celebrating Kurban Bayram in Calis… | living the turkish dream

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