I was lucky enough to get to be with a real Turkish family during the Muslim holiday of Kurban Bayram, also known as Eid Al Adha. This is the holiday where people sacrifice an animal in the name of God, in honor of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to God, which in turn rewarded him by offering a sheep to sacrifice instead of his son. This holiday is about that, and also about gathering with family. Traditionally, on the first day of the holiday people visit their parents. The second day they visit other relatives, and on the third and fourth days these people visit you. This entire holiday is centered on food, which includes the meat from the sacrificed animal, but also many amazing sweets. My friend's family lived in Istanbul, but his dad was originally from Mardin, which is located in the East. So I was lucky enough to have the famous and traditional cig kofte, but this one was actually made with raw meat, unlike the faux vegetarian ones that are often sold in shops. This is prepared with enough spices to [hopefully] kill anything harmful inside. It was very good.
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Kurban Bayram Desserts
So as I mentioned before, I was in Istanbul with a Turkish family for Kurban Bayram. For this holiday there is a lot of family time, and many many delicious desserts. The dessert with the walnut is made of some type of acorn based paste, but it is very sweet and nice. The drink in the small cup is traditional Turkish cay (pronounced chai). It is always drank from small glasses like this. In Turkiye they drink tea like Americans drink coffee.
As I mentioned in another post, this holiday was traditionally all about family and visiting your relatives, but now it has become much more of a vacation holiday, where many wealthier Turks take trips to Europe or other resorts. My friend's mother and I lamented in the loss of this wonderful tradition. Another part of Kurban bayram is about giving a portion of the meat you slaughtered to the poor. We also went to the gecikondu (ghetto) and handed meat out to the very poor. That was an incredible experience. Not many see this side of Turkiye.