ISTANBUL - Thousands of Istanbul mosques are getting decorated for the holy fasting month of Ramadan as carnival atmosphere prevail the city where 10 million Muslims await the holy month to get spiritually stronger.
Fasting Muslims became more compassionate for the people in need and usually donate money to the charity during Ramadan," Ugur Celik, a graduate student from Istanbul's Fatih University, told Xinhua news agency on Thursday, July 19.
"Also, I would experience the hunger and thirst that the poor feel.
Ramadan is the holiest month in Islamic calendar.
Majority of Muslims worldwide celebrate the start of the holy fasting month on Friday, July 20, making it the first time for Ramadan in 30 years to come in mid July.
Eyeing increase in tourism during the holy month, Istanbul's food markets have witnessed sales increase recently since people start shopping for food to prepare "iftar" (fast-breaking meal) and "sahur" (pre-dawn meal).
According to the official statement of Turkish Tradesmen and Artisans Confederation, during Ramadan Turkey's food business will expect an nearly-30-percent increase and around 4 billion extra Turkish Liras (about 2.2 billion US dollars) will flow into food markets.
Coping with the carnival atmospher during Ramadan, Istanbul municipalities will organize mass iftar meals and street festivals such as clown and shadow puppet shows for locals.
Mosques in Istanbul are ready to hold Tarawih, congregational night prayers performed by Muslims during Ramadan.
Moreover, Ramadan drummers, who used to wake people up for the pre-dawn meal by drumming during the Ottoman times, will once again be in the streets of Istanbul with traditional Ottoman outfits such as fez hats.
Approximately 99 percent of Turkey's population are Muslim, mostly Sunnis.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Fasting is meant to teach Muslims patience, self-control and spirituality, and time during the holy month is dedicated for getting closer to Allah though prayers, reading the Noble Qur'an and good deeds.
Time during the holy month is dedicated for getting closer to Allah though prayers, reading the Noble Qur'an and helping the poor and needy.
Mosques in Ramadan are overflowing with worshippers, especially for Tarawih, a nightly prayers performed during Ramadan only, and many men perform i'tikaf.