Bairam - Encyclopedia


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'BAIRAM, a Perso-Turkish word meaning "festival," applied in Turkish to the two principal festivals of Islam. The first. of these, according to the calendar, is the " Lesser Festival," called by the Turks Kiitshiik Bairdm (" Lesser Bairam "), or Sheker Bairam (" Sugar Bairam "), and by Arabic-speaking Moslems id al-Fitr (" Festival of Fast-breaking "), or Al-'id as saghir (" Lesser Festival "). It follows immediately the ninth or the fasting-month, Ramadan, occupying the first three days of the tenth month, Shawwal. It is, therefore, also called by Turks Ramadan Bairam, and exhibits more outward signs of rejoicing than the technically " Greater Festival." Official receptions are held on it, and private visits paid; friends congratulate one another, and presents are given; new clothes are put on, and the graves of relatives are visited. The second, or " Greater Festival," is called by the Turks Qurban Bairain, Sacrifice Bairam," and by Arabic speakers Al-'id al-kabir, " Greater Festival," or I d al-a4ci, "Festival of Sacrifice." It falls on tile tenth, and two or three following days, of the last month, Dhu-l-hijja, when the pilgrims each slay a ram, a he-goat, a cow or a camel in the valley of Mind in commemoration of the ransom of Ishmael with a ram. Similarly throughout the Moslem world, all who can afford it sacrifice at this time a legal animal, and either consume the flesh themselves or give it to the poor. Otherwise it is celebrated like the " Lesser Festival," but with less ardour. Both festivals, of course, belong to a lunar calendar, and move through the solar year every thirty-two years.

See Lane's Modern Egyptians, chap. xxv.; Michell, Egyptian Calendar; Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, pp. 192 ff.; Sir R. Burton, Pilgrimage, chaps. vii., xxx. D. B. MA.

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