As Muslims around the world begin to celebrate Ramadan, the cities of Turkey have prepared for the "sultan of all months" by planning a colorful array of festivities and providing various forms of aid for the less fortunate.
Many cities are continuing the tradition of erecting iftar (fast-breaking dinner) tents. These dinner tents are open every evening and serve the entire community, not just those in need.
İftar tents will be set up for more than 24,000 people across Turkey, including Bursa, Mersin, Balıkesir, Sakarya, Osmaniye, Adana, Antalya, Hatay, Karabuk, Sivas, Edirne, Kırıkkale, Tokat, Bartın and Burdur.
The residents of Mersin will have the opportunity to break their fasts as a community and dine at traditional low Turkish tables.
The district of Taurus has once again opened the field of its stadium so that more than 5,000 people will be able to break their fasts at the same time and enjoy food prepared by the municipality. Mayor Hamit Tuna will be among people breaking the fast and will sit at a low table.
In Osmaniye, people can enjoy suhur (pre-dawn meal) together once a week in Cumhuriyet Square as in previous years.
Other cities have decided to forgo the tents in the summer heat and instead donate aid packages to families in need. Where iftar tents will not be set up, more than 100,000 families will be provided with food and aid.
Not only are most municipalities providing some form of aid for the less fortunate, but many are also delivering food, clothes and other goods directly to their disabled, poor, and needy residents' homes.
In İzmir, the elderly, disabled, families of soldiers killed in battle, veterans and 48,000 low-income families will all receive TL 150 lira in aid.
Circumcision feasts will also be organized for the children of poor families in Antalya.
In Kocaeli and Sakarya, those who are less fortunate have received shopping cards that they can use to buy the goods and food they need.
In addition to aid, municipalities have organized a multitude of cultural activities for families to enjoy after they finish their iftar dinners.
Residents can be transported to Ramadans of centuries past by partaking in traditional Turkish festivities like the "Karagöz and Hacivat" shadow plays, "meddah" storytelling, "kukla" puppet theater and a number of theater performances as well as enjoy one of the many concerts that will take place throughout the month.
Necdet Aksoy, the mayor of Safranbolu Municipality, said: "We have prepared special programs which will make people say 'This is how Ramadan used to be in our times.' We are planning activities that will invoke the spirit of the past. We will have a traditional Ramadan."
Every evening the residents of Malatya can visit Abdullah Gül Park for live entertainment. Concerts, theatrical plays and other shows highlight the Ramadan program christened "Aspuzu'da Ramazan Geceleri," or "Ramadan Nights in Aspuzu." While enjoying the outdoor performances, Malatyans can cool off with one of 13 flavors of sherbet from the fountain in front of the city center's post office.
The Yalova Municipality has planned various festivities as part of its ''City of Ramadan'' in Cumhuriyet Square. The City of Ramadan boasts 110 different vendor stands for residents to stroll past. Also, every week a famous singer will perform in concert here.
In Antalya, renowned singers will perform during the Ramadan Festival from Aug. 1 to Aug. 28 in Karaalioğlu Park. Like last year, poet and writer Sunay Akın will perform for the people of Antalya with his one-man show "Mahya Lights" (Mahya Işıkları). Antalyans will experience the nostalgia of theater, dance shows, fasıl (traditional Turkish music) and traditional Ramadan entertainment.
Similarly, in Budur famous artists will be on the stage every Saturday evening during the month of Ramadan. Bendeniz will perform on Aug. 6, Firdevs will play on Aug. 13, Oğuz Aksaç will be on stage on Aug. 20 and Ozan Orhon will show on Aug. 27.
Cihan news agencyLast Mod: 01 Ağustos 2011, 17:46