Kurban Bayramı –

About 40 days after Ramadan there is a public holiday in turkey called Kurban Bayramı.

Animal lovers should stop reading about now as this is the day of the sacrifice.

Depending on the family and their wealth this could mean sacrificing a sheep or a cow.

Apparently in former years, Istanbul transformed in a bloodbath, but recent legislation made it very hard to see this special event.

Before anyone starts to make assumptions, I am not a blood lover – but I do eat meat, and know where it comes from. So for me it is not shocking to watch a killing. And especially not one like the one I saw – where every little part of the animal is used and nothing goes to waste.

After having some house problems, I was staying with some friends during this week. They lived in a more traditional neighborhood, which meant it was our best shot at seeing it.

I only had one friend willing to come with me. Everyone else was completely out for that.

Waking up early to try to find something, we were treated with neighbors celebrating it.

The really nice and special thing about this holiday is that it is all about sharing. The family that sacrifices the animal only gets to keep one-third of it. The other two are for the poor and of course for friends and neighbors.

We were treated with a little bit of fascination and a lot of kindness.

As always in Turkey we were offered tea and then some cooked meat, and then some raw meat for us to take home.

The whole family has to pitch in to help.

Because this is done in a not so clean place, (in this case an old garage!) they have to be really fast and so they need all the help they can find.

It was  really good to see the whole dynamic – somehow it kind of felt like christmas – the kids were all playing around while the grown ups made everything happen around them. It was all about sharing and everyone was happy.

For me it was a privilege to be able to see it. Again, please don’t see the pictures if you are a very sensitive person



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10 responses to “Kurban Bayramı –

  1. Yes, I’m a little sensitive. But I can’t stop reading and watching photos. Some things arr beautiful only because arr pieces of different culture. Thanx for this report!!

  2. Thank you for posting this! Is the animal completely dead immediately by the time they start skinning? I know of a sacrifice where the goat is left bleeding while being skinned. It is gruesome. I am not a vegetarian but I am deeply concerned about the way animals are killed.

    • They completely kill the animal before starting the skinning process! The killing is quite fast as well and I have to say it felt as if they have a very high regard for the actual animal – since they pray before killing it! I felt the whole thing was very human!
      I am glad you enjoyed the post! Thank you for the comment 🙂

  3. Although not in the context of a particular ceremony, in France and in Czech Republic, some rural families still practice the killing of the pig. The mindset of everybody participating, and sharing is pretty similar. Nothing goes to waste either. And it’s not for the faint of heart. I did get invited to a “Zabiječka” here (pig killing, in Czech). Starting at the wee hours, and making soup, sausages, cutting meat, etc…

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