World Bulletin / News Desk
The government on Monday extended the Eid al-Adha holiday to six days.
Eid al-Adha is Arabic for Feast of the Sacrifice (in Turkish, Kurban Bayramı) and is one of two holidays on the Islamic calendar, starting on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah each year. This year, the four-day holiday starts on Oct. 25. It is preceded by a half-day eve holiday and will also be followed by Republic Day this year, which is celebrated on Oct. 29, amounting in total to five-and-a-half days. But with a government decision to include the entire eve day in the holiday, Eid al-Adha will last from Wednesday, Oct. 24, to Tuesday, Oct. 30.
Government spokesman and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç announced the government move on Monday following a Cabinet meeting.
Earlier the extension of the holiday to 10 days, with the inclusion of Oct. 22 and 23, was discussed. Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said a 10-day holiday could boost the tourism sector, but this led to an outcry from the manufacturers. Günay's remarks came after an opening ceremony in the southwestern province of Muğla last week. He suggested that the wealthy head to tourist destinations for vacations while others make do with a shorter holiday.
Government operations affected by the holiday extension were also discussed at the Cabinet meeting. Arınç said retirement pensions as well as widow and orphan pensions for November will be paid one week earlier. During the holiday, road tolls on the Bosporus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridges and highways as well as public transportation vehicles will be free of charge.
For many, each day of the Eid al-Adha holiday begins at the mosques for the special Eid prayer that takes place after sunrise. Following this, animals are slaughtered as a reminder of the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael to God as an act of obedience and submission. A section of the meat is distributed to the poor along with other charitable donations, as per Islamic tradition. While many visit their families on this special occasion, many others prefer taking vacations in popular tourist destinations.