BAIRAM, a Perso-Turkish word meaning "festival," applied in Turkish to the two principal festivals of Islam. The first of these, according to the calendar, is the "Lesser Festival," called by the Turks Kütshük Bairam ("Lesser Bairam"), or Sheker Bairam ("Sugar Bairam"), and by Arabic-speaking Moslems 'Id al-Fitr ("Festival of Fast-breaking"), or Al-'id as-saghir ("Lesser Festival"). It follows immediately the ninth or the fasting-month, Ramadan, occupying the first three days of the tenth month Shawwal. It is, therefore, also called by Turks Ramazan Bairam, and exhibits more outward signs of rejoicing than the technically "Greater Festival." Official receptions are held on it, and private visits paid; friends congratulate one another, and presents are given; new clothes are put on, and the graves of relatives are visited. The second, or "Greater Festival," is called by the Turks Qurban Bairam, "Sacrifice Bairam," and by Arabic speakers Al-'id al-kabir, "Greater Festival," or 'Id al-adha, "Festival of Sacrifice." It falls on the tenth, and two or three following days, of the last month Dhu-l-hijja", when the pilgrims each slay a ram, a he-goat, a cow or a camel in the valley of Mina in commemoration of the ransom of Ishmael with a ram. Similarly throughout the Moslem world, all who can afford it sacrifice at this time a legal animal, and either consume the flesh themselves or give it to the poor. Otherwise it is celebrated like the "Lesser Festival," but with less ardour. Both festivals, of course, belong to a lunar calendar, and move through the solar year every thirty-two years.
See Lane's Modern Egyptians, chap. xxv.; Michell, Egyptian Calendar; Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, pp. 192 ff.; Sir R. Burton, Pilgrimage, chaps. vii., xxx.
(D. B. Ma.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)