Ramadan Tradition: 3,350 Drummers to Wake Istanbul for Sahur

The longstanding practice of drumming to wake people before sahur during Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan will once again live throughout Istanbul, as at least 3,350 drummers will take to the streets in the upcoming 30 days, the chairperson of the Mukhtar’s association said on Sunday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Selami Aykut, who heads a federation of mukhtars in Istanbul in charge of traditional Ramadan drummers, expressed that Ramadan, the sultan of the eleven months, has many traditions that have been passed down from the past to the present.

He emphasized that waking up for sahur (pre-dawn meal) with drums is one of these traditions and that continuing this custom, which dates back to the Ottoman era, makes the citizens happy.

Aykut explained that, as in every Ramadan, drummers will also be on duty this year.

“Our drummers have completed their preparations to wake up our citizens for sahur during Ramadan. As in every year, our drummers, who receive training under the supervision of our muhtars, are eagerly awaiting the beginning of Ramadan,” noted Aykut.

Aykut emphasized that the mukhtars closely follow all stages of preparation, from the drummers’ attire to the many (traditional verses recited during Ramadan), and continued: “Our mukhtars pay attention to certain criteria when selecting drummers. For example, it is required that the individuals who perform drumming in a neighborhood during Ramadan reside in that specific area.”

“We also pay attention to whether these individuals have previously performed in the same neighborhood. We want the drummers to wear attire that suits the culture of Ramadan, and we ensure that they do so,” he noted.

“Our drummers are very happy and excited about the coming of Ramadan. We have 964 neighborhoods in Istanbul. Approximately 3,350 drummers will be on duty in the city during this Ramadan,” he informed.

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