***WARNING, THIS POST CONTAINS PHOTOS THAT MAY DISTURB SOME READERS.***
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.
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.