Aysun's Ramadan

    In Serik, a small city 30 miles away from Antalya, in the southwest of Turkey, the farmer Aysun Ozbek, 50, is one of the few peasants who do the “oruç” (feasting in turkish) during Ramadan. In the muslims’ sacred month, when the revelation of the Quran in the islamic calendar is celebrated, she does not eat or drink, not even water, during the day. It is a moment of reflection and purification.

    The lady, who completes her 40th year of “oruç” in ramadan, plants pepper, capsicum and tomatoes in her five greenhouses during the spring in Turkey. As summer approaches, the heat most of the times makes her job impracticable. Ozbek has to reduce her workload in half - from eight to four - hours of work.

    During the spring, the days in Serik are very long. On the 26th day of Ramadan, there was sunlight from 5:37 in the morning until 8:18 pm. “It is a tough month, but very important to us. That is why we schedule our workload before, so it does not get very exhausting”, she says with a smile in her face. The best part of the day, for Ozbek, is the meal called “iftar”, which happens when the sun goes away. She says, proudly, that she has read her arab Quran countless times. “It is our sacred book. Every muslim should know how to read the words that the prophet wrote.”

    After the “iftar”, Ozbek extents her rug on the floor of her living room and prays the last of the muslims’ five diary prayers. Then, she goes to sleep, to wake up at 3am, eat before the sun rises and repeat everything the next day. What may sound as a painful and exhaustive process, to this farmer is reason for pride and gratitude.