Friday, October 2, 2015

Eid al-Adha in Sarajevo

I've always enjoyed spotting differences between things. Since I moved to Sarajevo, I've been doing it so much between Turkish customs and traditions and the Bosnian ones. This has actually revealed a lot about Bosnian identity in different ways. Well, I'd rather write another post about this and go back to a detail about Eid al-Adha in Sarajevo that I've wanted to share with you for a long time. 

On this religious festival, muslim people share the meat of the sacrificed animal (usually a cow, but can also be a camel, goat, sheep or ram depending on the region) with relatives, friends, neighbours and the poor and needy while remaining some meat for themselves. OK, there is nothing different about this practice in Bosnia and Herzegovina, muslim Bosnians share the meat too. However, there is something different about how they do it: printed plastic bags are used to put the meat in and share. These small bags are white usually with the picture of a ram and the bajram greeting on them. 

I find this tradition quite interesting. It shows, first of all, how meticulous Bosnian people are when hygiene and customs are concerned. Almost everybody uses these bags which you can buy at any grocery shop or supermarket. I think this is the extension of the Western mind that's been shaping Bosnia since the Ottoman rule left the region. 

Secondly, the bajram greeting printed in green on these bags tell you a great deal about the Turkish heritage in these lands. It reads 'Bajram šerif mubarek olsun'* on the bag (take a look at the picture above) and the same greeting is written in Arabic letters which is the Ottoman Turkish itself. The cultural tradition of greeting each other with this phrase is still in use as it was introduced in the Turkish language during the Ottoman rule. The greeting has been preserved in the way it was adopted long long years ago. Amazing! 

* 'Have a blessed celebration/festival'