On Sunday, the sunshine arrived with the festival of Kurban Bayram, the festival of sacrifice.
We headed out to the köy, the village where my mother in law is from. A handful of relatives still live there, tend the land that has been the family’s for so many years. In the morning, a cow had been sacrificed.
Many families sacrifice an animal during this festival to remember the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his own son. In the story, which is both in the bible and the koran, God gives Abraham a sheep to sacrifice instead.
We stayed until Kaya got too tired. Before we left, we paid our respects to those who had passed away and are buried in a little graveyard amongst the trees on top of a hill.
My in-laws stayed and returned later that day with the family’s share of the meat.
Today, the meat is traditionally divided into three parts. The family keeps one third to eat, another third is given to relatives and neighbours, and one to the poor.
On the following days it was a time of visiting. We went and visited uncles and aunts, they came and visited us, and so everybody made their rounds to everyone’s house.
I was grateful to our little guy who provided welcome distractions when I couldn’t follow the conversation (which happens a lot, my Turkish is enough for small talk but not much more), grateful for feeling at ease now with unannounced visitors any time of day – mostly.
We had a special celebration for Kaya on the last day of bayram, but that is another story.
Now, as those relatives who live elsewhere are making their way home, I am looking forward to some quiet days. There will still be a fair share of visiting times, but also a little more time free to do nothing much. Go to the park, sip countless glasses of Turkish tea, visit playgrounds, eat.
Mostly eat, probably.