Christmas In Turkey
Many expats who have chosen to invest in a property in Turkey stay in the country and celebrate the festive season – even though Christmas Day itself is not a national holiday in Turkey. Those from the UK who don’t have family coming to visit them whilst here in Turkey tend to get together on Christmas Day for a communal celebration, both in restaurants and in hotels or each other’s homes. Here at Oceanwide Properties Turkey, we’ll be doing exactly that – in fact we intend to enjoy a few Christmas get-togethers if we can manage.
Christmas in Turkey
December 25 is a working day in Turkey with Turkish citizens celebrating the New Year tradition instead with celebrations beginning from the afternoon of December 31st, through until the end of January 1st. This takes the form of people sending cards to wish each other a happy and prosperous new year. Meanwhile, presents are increasingly being swapped. Feasting and drinking (Many Turkish citizens drink alcohol) is big on this day and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t spot a traditional Christmas turkey on the dinner table of any Turkish home on January 1 st. Having a game of tambala (bingo) is also a Turkish tradition at New Year’s and, just as in the UK, TV channels tend to show their ‘best of’ programmes.
The reason people in Turkey don’t celebrate Christmas is because it is a Muslim country – and Father Christmas himself is said to have been born here (in Turkish he is referred to as Noel Baba and traditionally brought presents to children on December 31).
Istanbul – Dressing up for a Western Christmas CelebrationHaving said that in some places in Antalya and in Istanbul itself Noel Baba will appear in stores, and shops are hung with Christmas garlands such as baubles, lights and bunting, while Christmas trees are also covered in baubles and glitter. You’ll find a giant street party in Istanbul and even find the odd mass there too – At Anthony of Padua, the largest Catholic church in Istanbul, is your best bet, if you’re far from home and in Turkey on Christmas day and want to join a mass service.
Noel BabaSanta Claus is said to have been born in Patara, Lycia, in the city of Demre (48 kilometres east of Kas). He was a bishop in the 4th century, Noel Baba eventually became a saint on his death and was declared the guardian of children – he is said to have carried sweets in large pockets sewn into his cloak. His other charges included sailors, bakers and tradesmen.
Moving to TurkeyAs you can see western traditions do make an appearance in Turkey too, such is the diversity of the country and increasingly more so with more foreign nationals every year choosing to look for property for sale in Fethiye, Kalkan and other resort areas of Turkey (in addition to the undisputed draw – especially in commercial terms – that is Istanbul).