Life, business and sport during Ramadan in Istanbul

Most foreigners who have not lived in a Muslim country will probably be surprised to hear that the holy month of Ramadan is not just about abstinence and self-restraint. Undoubtedly, for the devout, from dusk til dawn it is exactly that, with no food or even water being allowed to pass their lips for the duration. And of course, smoking is also forbidden during daylight hours. This kind of rigorous denial is often the focus of media attention.

But there is another side to Ramadan; the festive one that begins with the breaking of the fast and carries on late into the night. Lavish and extended meals compensate for the deprivations of the daytime and it is a time for family and reunions and an overflowing of life onto the streets. When Ramadan occurs during the summer months, as it has for the past few years due to the secret machinations of the moon, daytime activities slow down immeasurably as a result of the heat and the fasting. İt is a spiritual time and time for reflection, but it mixes in a good bit of old fashion family fun, too. As Ramadan nears its end, there is a Bayram holiday which could be said to be the equivalent of Christmas, where children receives gifts, mostly monetary, and people return to their native cities and villages to visit family and old friends.

The end of a long hard day

 

Personally, from a real estate perspective, we, too, like to consider this a time of reflection and we try not to worry about closing many deals during this period. We try to immerse ourselves in the spirit of the month and trust that Allah will keep food on the table in coming months.

İt is also a good time for planning, as traffic in the office slows to a halt. We often take a holiday and get recharged for what is usually a busy fall.

Finally, as Ramadan coincides with the Olympics, a word on how it affects sporting life.

Some people I know, though you may find it hard to believe, actually play squash while fasting. İ was stunned when one of my regular partners insisted on playing during the daytime. İ brushed him off, saying it would be too easy for me if he were fasting. Yet, when we did finally play, I was nothing short of flabbergasted to see that he actually performed at a high level. And here is Spartan me, who can barely muster up the natural strength to get out of the house without my two cups of coffee in the morning!!!

So, some athletes competing in the Olympics will fast and still perform, something for which they should get a separate medal for! In rare cases there are certain exceptions that can be made for fasting, however these instances are very unique and complex, and in some of these cases the fasting days can be made up at a later date.

Go Turkey Go

 

İn any event, whether you be laboring under the fast or not, let us take the time to celebrate this annual, yet unique and mystical event.

Kolay gelsin (Turkish)… ‘Let it come easy’

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