Turkey, Ramadan under coronavirus

Turkey begins its 2nd Ramadan under the coronavirus

The beginning today of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan is marked for 2nd year by the coronavirus pandemic.

Turkey began on Tuesday its second Ramadan – a holy month for Muslims – under the shadow of the coronavirus, forcing it to limit many of the usual traditions in this period of the year while authorities announce new restrictions and study new measures in the face of the notable increase in infections, which are around 50,000 a day.

One more year, the most sacred month for Islam is marked by the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly aimed at avoiding crowds and meetings between friends or family, so typical of these dates. In the memory are the typical dinners (iftar) to break the daily fast that were organised not only in homes, but also in public spaces with the attendance of hundreds or thousands of people.

Turkish authorities have issued a series of instructions to the governors of the 81 provinces of the country, which in addition to prohibiting this type of meetings include other measures such as prohibiting bakeries to prepare pide – a very typical bread consumed during Ramadan – after an hour before iftar: in this way, the large queues of people that used to form shortly before the breaking of the fast to buy fresh bread are avoided.

Citizens are also warned about the prohibition of organising gatherings for iftar at home as well as for sahur, which in this case is the small lunch that takes place before sunrise, when according to the Muslim faith the believers during Ramadan must abstain from eating , drink, blaspheme, have sexual relations or act bad in deed or thought until the arrival of the sunset.

Curfews on weekends are back

Another measure that comes with Ramadan is the extension of weekend curfews – from 9:00 p.m. on Friday to 5:00 a.m. on Monday – to all provinces of the country. The measure, that until now prevailed only in the highest risk provinces, is also extended to the entire country, and also prohibits restaurants and cafes from serving food unless it is to be delivered.

Other restrictions that were already experienced a year ago during the first Ramadan under the coronavirus pandemic is the closure of mosques to celebrate the traditional collective prayers of Tarawih, also typical of these dates, and citizens are warned not to organise collective prayers in houses. In order to avoid crowds as much as possible, public transport services will also be expanded on these days.

Despite the fact that the Turks once again have to live a month of Ramadan under the shadow of the coronavirus, a tradition that hardly changes is that of the drums in Ramadan: the image of the drummers (davulcular) walking the streets at dawn making their drumming to wake up Muslims for sahur, is a tradition that not even the pandemic has been able to put to an end.