The Drums of Ramazan

davulcuIn Turkey, there is a long and venerable tradition of drumming in the month of Ramazan. In the small hours before dawn a drummer beats his way on foot, neighbourhood by neighbourhood through the district, from street to street, waking the faithful and signaling the time for sahur, the last permitted meal before morning prayer and the start of fasting. It’s one of the many colourful, rich traditions that come alive at Ramazan, and the sahur drummers are unique to the Turkic world.

Shortly before I left home last week, I pulled out a card from my letterbox. It read: “Esteemed Residents of Ilker, your Ramazan dummers are Inan Çelik, Ufuk Çelik, Mehmet Ali Çelik and Murat Demir. And in their own words, “Gece sahur davulunuzu bizler çaliyoruz.” There’s a ring of pride to it, and rightly so. We should be proud too. They’re our drums, after all.

Here, in the high pastures of Switzerland, I set my clock and hope the cuckoo wakes me in time.

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