Turkey is a predominantly Muslim nation, so visitors during the holy month of Ramadan may encounter some cultural shifts.
The good news is that all visitors to Türkiye are welcomed with open arms, whether or not it is Ramadan. All you have to do is make an effort to learn as much as you can about the culture and current events, and act accordingly.
Turkey is a Muslim-majority country
Let's start with the most basic question: what is Ramadan?
Not only Turks observe Ramadan, but all Muslims around the world do so. Although this is always the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, the date varies by about ten days due to leap years.
From dawn until sunset, Muslims abstain from all food and drink in order to reflect and pray during the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims know when it is time to fast and when it is time to break their fast based on the mosque's call to prayer.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan celebrates the month in which God revealed the first verses of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. During this month, Muslims around the world observe the fast, refrain from thinking impure thoughts, pray, and put extra emphasis on doing good deeds and spending time with loved ones and their communities.
After the day's fasting is over (around sunset), Muslims gather for a communal meal with their loved ones. After the month of fasting is over, family and friends gather for three days to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. A major celebration in the Islamic calendar.
Does Ramadan Affect Turkish Tourists?
You probably won't notice much of a change in the tourist resorts across Turkey during Ramadan, but if you happen to be in Istanbul, Ankara, or another more traditional city or town, you might.
You can freely move around Turkey even during the holy month of Ramadan.
When Does Ramadan Fall?
When Will Ramadan Be In 2023? Ramadan 2023 will begin on the evening of March 22 and end on the evening of April 20.
The Ramadan Feast in Turkey is a time for visiting relatives and paying one’s respect to older people. Many Turks give away sweets and desserts during the festival, and children may watch free Turkish shadow plays.
Prepare for a half-day holiday on Thursday, April 20, and a full day off on Friday, April 21. As the first day of the Bayram, many businesses and public buildings may be closed on Thursday, April 21. This includes museums, which are usually open that day. The 22nd and 23rd of April are full holidays (Saturday - Sunday).
Are Businesses in Turkey Closed During Ramadan?
Nope. The same level of service and availability at area restaurants and watering holes can be expected. Keep in mind that some of the wait staff may be fasting, and do your best to be considerate and respectful of their religious practices.
What Is All That Banging During Ramadan?
Before sunrise, a drum is sometimes played in various locations throughout Türkiye. The purpose of the drum is to rouse the sleeping populace so that they don't waste the opportunity to refuel. This age-old ritual signals the start of the last meal before the day of fasting begins.
It may startle you the first time you hear it, particularly if it jolts you awake at night, but you now know what to anticipate!
After the call to prayer is broadcast from mosques, people begin eating again. There will be prayer and thanksgiving to God for the food before they dig in. Families and communities frequently do this together as they break their fasts. While most people do so at home, you may also see them doing so in public places like restaurants.
What You Should Do During Ramadan in Turkey
Being mindful of the culture and the fact that people are fasting is all that is required of you. Even if you're not observing Ramadan, it's still expected of you to dress modestly when you visit a religious site, and that includes covering your hair.
You should be patient with your waiter or store owner if they seem a little less chatty than usual during Ramadan, as fasting during the day is difficult, especially when the holy month falls during the hottest months of the year. What they're doing is complex, but it holds great religious and spiritual significance for them. The situation benefits greatly from even a modicum of empathy.
The same holds true for your restaurant experience at a resort. Even though he or she may be fasting, your waiter or waitress will serve you as usual. Just try to have some compassion and understanding.
Is It Legal to Drink Alcohol in Turkey During Ramadan?
Yes. Although during the holy month of Ramadan in Turkey, even Muslim drinkers refrain from consuming Beer, Wine, Raki, or any alcoholic spirit. However, this rule only applies to Muslims; as a tourist in Turkey, you will not be expected to give up alcohol. Anywhere you go in the Turkey, you'll be able to purchase and enjoy alcoholic beverages.
Is Ramadan a busy time in Turkey?
In no greater degree than usual. When dining out during the day, you'll find the opposite to be true: there are fewer people at the restaurants. Wait until sunset (iftar), when the restaurants and cafes will come alive with diners.
Is it permissible to wear bikinis on the beach during Ramadan?
Yes. You can go around town in your swimsuit without worrying about anyone giving you weird looks. No changes will be made to the regular operations of any beaches or hotel pools.
The Last Word on Turkey During Ramadan
If you're visiting Turkey during Ramadan, you probably won't see much of a change unless you go to a more traditional part of the country. It is important to remember that Ramadan is a holy time for Muslims and to refrain from eating, drinking, and smoking during this time.
You don't need to alter your approach in any significant way, but showing some compassion and sympathy will go a long way. To get the most out of your time there and to better appreciate the local culture, it's a good idea to brush up on the local news and events.