Ramadan in highlands: Turkish nomads keep traditions alive

Throughout their lives, Yörüks (Turkish nomads) travel from place to place to find the perfect spot for their animals to feed following seasonal changes. The Çelik Family is one of those nomads who spend winter in the highlands of Mersin and summer in Konya. Despite the long fasting hours, the Yörük family keeps their forefathers' way of living alive and works all day until it is time to break their fast in their tent.

The Çeliks change places twice a year to feed their small herd of cattle. The family left Mersin in late April and arrived in Konya 35 days later. While the gown-ups' hands are full with the cattle, the children of the family help with the chores while playing in the open fields.

Yaşar Çelik, 55, the elder of the family, said they start the day right after the sun rises.

"We do not sleep after sahur [pre-dawn meal]. We wake up, pray and start feeding our animals. As we are on the highlands, the women feed the children and help us with the other chores. Towards iftar [fast-breaking meal], they light the fire and iftar preparations begin. We break our fast as a family and enjoy our free time," said Çelik, the father.

Fatma Çelik, the daughter-in-law of Yaşar Çelik, said both men and women work equally in the highlands.

"We tend to the animals until nightfall. It is hard to fast and work in this heat but we are doing everything we can not to delay our work and fast during Ramadan."

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