Ramadan is the holiest month in the Muslim religion. It is a time when Muslims fast for 30 days. Since Ramadan is based on the lunar calendar, its dates are different every year. Fasting during Ramadan involves a very strict regiment - the fast lasts from sunrise to sunset. This means absolutely no eating, no drinking, no sexual intercourse, no smoking, no chewing gum between sunrise and sunset. Those who fasting will rise for their final meal (called sahur) before the fast begins at sunrise.
If you're in Turkey during Ramadan, it's polite to refrain from eating and drinking in public during daylight hours. Rather, do it inside a restaurant, tea house or cafe ... Muslim restaurant and cafe staff will understand that you are non-Muslim and will be happy to serve you.
The fast ends at sundown and it is announced over the radio and on TV. The call to break the fast can also be heard from the mosques throughout the city as the imam (synonymous for priest or rabbi) calls followers to break their fast and have their meal, called iftar. Traditionally, eating olives or dates, along with a piece of delicious flat bread (called pide) and drinking a glass of water breaks the fast.
Contrary to popular belief, weight is gained during Ramadan due to the change in schedule of eating habits, along with the amount of food consumed during iftar meal.
Since sundown is usually between 5 pm and 6 pm during the months of October and November, most fasters will not have a chance to sit down to a traditional family iftar meal during the week, as they work. Consequently, workplaces have a meal prepared for their fasting workers. Additionally, for those who are homeless or more needy, the municipality sets up tents throughout the city and offers a free iftar meal.