Kandil or the Five Holy Nights are celebrated throughout Turkey each year. The meaning of Kandil comes from the word Candle from the time of Sultan Selim II who lit candles in the Mosques Minarets to mark the holy evenings.
The Days of the Islamic Calendar start at sunset, which is why Kandil is celebrated at Night and as the Islamic Calendar is a lunar calendar, the dates of each of these nights changes every year.
If you live or holiday in Turkey you probably won’t notice these dates as they are not marked by public holidays. However, you may notice that the Mosques are illuminated to mark these evenings.
These holy days and nights are marked by prayer, poems and fasting. Special Foods are often prepared in the homes and greetings are passed around neighbours and families.
The Five Holy Nights are:
Mevlid Kandili – The Birth of the Prophet Mohammad
The day is fixed at the 12th day of the month of Rabi al-Awwal in the Muslim calendar.The Prophet Muhammad was born around A.D. 570 and died in 632. The Mevlid Kandili was first observed around the 13th century and was preceded by a month of celebration. The day is usually celebrated by a sermon, remembrance of the Prophet’s life and mission, gift giving and a feast. On the night that the Holy Prophet was born, Allah, ordered the angels to open all the gates of Heaven and Paradise. It was also during that day that the sun was brighter and more brilliant in its radiance.
Regaip Kandili– The Conception of the Prophet Mohammad
Regaip marks the beginning of three holy months in the Islamic calendar and is known as the “Beginning of the Three Moons,”
Laylat al-Ragha’ib in Arabic, is a holy night in Islam commemorating the conception of the Prophet Muhammad. Also known as Night of the Rewards. As Muslim holidays begin the night before, Regaip Kandili is celebrated on the Thursday night preceding the first Friday in the month of Rajab.
Miraç Kandili– The Prophet Mohammad’s accent into Heaven
The Prophet Muhammad’s Isra and Mi’raj. Isra is the name for his night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, and Mi’raj is the term for his ascension to heaven, where he met with other prophets and spoke with God. It is celebrated on the 27th day of the month of Rejeb in the Islamic calendar.
The day is focused on children and youth. Those who visit the mosque will hear the story of Isra and Mi’raj.
Berat Kandili – The Day of Forgiveness
The Night of Forgiveness, Berat Kandili or Leylet-ul-Bera’at. Observed on the night between the 14th and 15th days of Sha’ban, the eighth month of the Hijra calendar. Berat Kandili is spent reciting the Quran and performing special prayers as well as visiting the graves of deceased relatives. If there is anyone who seeks forgiveness or needs help. Or if there is anyone in pain they should seek help between sunset and sunrise. The Night of the Emancipation is time to ask for forgiveness; provision; healing and help
Kadir Gecesi – The Korans first appearance to The Prophet Mohammad
Known as Laylat al-Qadr in Arabic. The Night of Power is traditionally accepted as the night between the 26th and 27th days of Ramadan. It is believed that this night is when the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel.