holidays arrive according to
the lunar Hijri calendar,
which is 11 days shorter than the
common solar (Gregorian) year. Islamic holidays begin at sunset on the evening of the first day; the first day then lasts until sunset on the following day.
two most important Islamic holidays
Bayramı and Ramazan,
which also contain national
public holidays. They may
affect your travel plans, so
you should know when they occur and
how they affect travel.
Islamic festivals such as kandils are
not disruptive, just interesting
holidays begin at sundown,
last until sundown on the following
calendar day, and the important public
holidays are usually preceded by
a half-day vacation called arife ("preparation").
Offices, banks and businesses may close
at noon on the day of arife, with
the festivities beginning at sunset.
fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramazan (RAH-mah-zahn,
called Ramadan in other countries).
Restaurants are less busy at lunch,
and there's even less Turkish
tea in evidence (which is amazing). More...
Called Eid el-Adha or Eid
el-Kebir in Arabic, Kurban Bayrami
(koor-BAHN bahy-rah-muh) is the most
important Islamic religious
festival of the year, and a 4
or 5-day public holiday in
an account of a memorable Kurban
Bayramı I spent in Eastern
Turkey, see Eastern
such as Aşure
Nebi, and the kandils are
not public holidays, but mosques are
illuminated, special foods and treats
are prepared, and you can participate,
actively or passively, in the celebrations.
You should at least know the dates
so you understand what's going on. More...
For month-by-month details of weather, holidays,
festivals and tourist seasons, see Tom's
Holiday Hours of Operation
As state above, Islamic holidays begin at sunset. Many offices close early in the afternoon of the first day for "preparation" (arife) to get ready for the start of the holiday.
Government and business offices are closed on at least the first full day (sunset to the next sunset) of multi-day official religious holidays. Sights of interest to visitors such as museums are usually closed in the morning on the first full day, but may open after lunch in the afternoon.
Markets such as Istanbul's Grand Bazaar and Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar may be closed on the first day of multi-day religious holiays.
On subsequent days of multi-day religious holidays, most museums, markets and similar sites will be open during their regular hours.
—by Tom Brosnahan