Thousands begin travel for five-day religious holiday

Thousands begin travel for five-day religious holiday

Thousands begin travel for five-day religious holiday

AA Photo

Turks have begun migrating en masse between the various cities and regions of Turkey to spend the five-day Eid al-Adha holiday with family or relaxing at holiday resorts.

The mass migration of residents from Istanbul and the northwestern Marmara region making their way to Anatolia has resulted in traffic jams in Istanbul since Oct. 2.

Cars were stuck at the two bridges on the Istanbul straits connecting the European to the Anatolian side after the government made the eve of Eid, Oct. 3, part of the official holiday. Normally, only a half-day is given on the eve of religious festivals. The traffic congestion continued in the city as some private sector workers who could not get the day off started their travels Oct. 3 instead.

The congestion has not subsided despite the measures taken by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

The steps include making the passage through the bridges free of charge for the entire holiday, which ends Oct. 7.

In addition all municipal and private-owned buses, metrobuses, tramways, trams and cityline ferries will be half-price during the five-day holiday, which is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, in Istanbul.

The municipality has formed 10 special teams to capture any animals that may escape into the streets from slaughterhouses during the holiday. This is an almost yearly occurrence due to inexperienced butchers or people who attempt to sacrifice their animals by themselves.

During the festival, many people buy and sacrifice sheep, calves and even camels. The practice is based on the story of Abraham and his son Ishmael in the Quran.

Many Turks follow this tradition to display as a way of demonstrating their obedience to God. They generally donate the meat of the sacrificed animals to neighbors, relatives and the poor.