Turkey celebrates Islam’s holy Feast of Sacrifice

Turkey celebrates Islam’s holy Feast of Sacrifice

Turkey celebrates Islam’s holy Feast of Sacrifice

Muslims worldwide, including those in Turkey, are celebrating Islam’s holy Eid al-Adha or “Feast of Sacrifice” with millions of Muslims around the world making a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia this week. 

Large numbers of sacrificial animals including sheep, and cows will be slaughtered as part of the feast and their meat will be distributed to the poor as a religious tradition in Islam.

For many Turks, Eid al-Adha also means a long holiday and reunion with members of the extended family living in other parts of the world.

A large number of Turks are expected to be on holiday between Aug. 18 and Aug. 26, merging the weekend with Eid al-Adha.

People began flocking to tourism destinations or hit the road as early as Aug. 18, to visit their relatives during the long holiday, which starts on Aug. 21 and will end Aug. 24, causing long lines and traffic congestion on major roads.

At least 43 people were killed in traffic accidents between Aug. 18 and Aug. 19.

At one point, cars formed a 35-kilometer-long line on the TEM highway near the western province of Bolu on Aug. 19.

According to state-run Anadolu Agency, a total of 205 were injured in accidents across the country in two days.

Nineteen people were killed on Aug. 18, while 24 people lost their lives on Aug. 19, Anadolu Agency reported.

A total of 122 people were killed in road accidents during the 10-day holiday last year.

In June this year, 67 people lost their lives and 341 were injured in road accidents across Turkey during Eid al-Fitr or Ramadan.

The country’s police force put more officers on duty to help ease the pains of heavy traffic and to control speeding, reckless drivers.

Units from the police’s traffic department also monitor activities on the roads via drones.

Busy airports

Not only roads but the country’s airports are also busy.

Turkish Airlines broke a new daily passenger record on Aug. 18, according to the chief executive office of the Turkish flag carrier.

“On Aug. 18, we made a historic record, we flew 253,000 passengers to their loved ones via 1,547 flights with 75 percent on-time departures,” Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Ekşi wrote on Twitter.

Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport served a total of 230,000 passengers, including transit passengers, on Aug. 18 alone, Demirören News Agency reported.

Some 1,441 airplanes landed or took off from the airport that day.

According to the news agency, 54,000 people traveled abroad from Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

The airport in the popular tourism destination Antalya served 25,277 domestic and 128,305 international passengers on Aug. 18, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turan said.

Occupancy rates in southern province Antalya’s resort town of Alanya have hit 100 percent, sector players had said ahead of Eid al-Adha.

Many hotels have recently stopped sales activities as all their rooms were sold out due to strong demand from domestic and foreign tourists, Alanya Tourism Association (ALTİD) chair Burhan Sili told state-run Anadolu Agency on Aug. 11.

Meanwhile, vacationers are warned some shops and restaurants in holiday resort towns may try to exploit strong demand during the holiday.

Local media reported that a soft drink beverage sold for 2 Turkish Liras ($0.30) at a supermarket is sold at as much as 28 liras at some facilities on the beaches of the popular tourist destination of Bodrum.

The price of a bottle of water could go up to 16 liras and a glass of tea or a cup of tomato soup are sold at 18 liras and 23 liras, respectively.