On one side were spices to put in soups. Incenses to burn while the Holy Koran is read, bottles, plugged with cotton, containing mustard to be eaten with the dish known as bumbar (stuffed intestine), dates to break the fast at iftar, and all sorts of spiced candies. And outside the glass doors, all sorts of simits, çöreks and Ramazan pide (special breads for Ramadan).
Those who are well off followed the custom of sending Ramadan provisions to relatives, friends and neighbors. Today’s custom of factory/business owners distributing ramazanlık to their employees can be considered an extension of that old custom.
As a result of the many developments in our country in the areas of agriculture, almost every fruit and vegetable is now available year round. We believe that because of this, the preparations for Ramadan will soon be left as a nostalgic memory.
Foods for Sahur
The meal eaten befor the break of dawn (fecr-i sâdık) by those intent on keeping the fast is called sahur. Sahur, called the “blessed meal” by our Prophet, is the beginning of the day of fasting.
The eating of sahur by one who will fast is not a religious requirement but is recommended, is it will provide him or her strength throughout the day. Thus the sahur meal is recommended in a Hathith (İbn Maja, Saum 22).
Our Prophet made a command to this effect in another hadis:
Eat the sahur, for in the sahur is a blessing. (2:495)
It is also recommended not to eat the sahur meal too early. But all eating and drinking must obviously be finished before dawn, as the dawn marks the beginning of the fast.
As one will go back to sleep after sahur, the foods must be chosen with care. In addition to flavor and beauty in appearance, it is absolutely necessary that sahur foods be healthy. The chief point to be considered is that the foods not be to heavy or rich, but to last us until iftar, the breaking of the fast. Making sure that sahur foods are not too salty will help prevent us from becoming thirsty during the day.
Writer Münevver Alp provides much information about Ramadan in old İstanbul: