Table of Contents
There are many celebrations in Turkey throughout the year. While some of these celebrations are religious holidays that are also celebrated by other countries in the world with the same religion, others are Turkey’s national festivals, which have a historical origin. In addition to these, there are globally observed holidays and observances that are also celebrated in Turkey every year.
Celebrations in Turkey
There are two main groups of public holidays that are annually celebrated in Turkey. These are national festivals of Turkey and religious festivals. During both national and religious holidays banks, schools, and government offices are closed, but most shops, businesses, and popular tourist attractions are usually open during the public holidays for people to enjoy their days off.
National Holiday Celebrations in Turkey
There are four major national festivals that are specifically celebrated in Turkey. These national festivals not only represent important days from the establishment of the modern Republic of Turkey but are also dedicated to certain values. These holidays are National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (celebrated on April 23), Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day (celebrated on May 19), Victory Day (celebrated on August 30) and
Republic Day (celebrated on October 29). The national festivals are celebrated on the same day every year. Government offices, educational establishments, private companies, and banks take the day off during the national festivals. Students organize national holiday celebrations at schools and stadiums. Similarly, cities and local governments conduct many activities and host events for the celebrations of the national festivals in Turkey. The presidents of the Republic and political leaders as well as the military, bureaucrats, and the rest of the community pay visits to Anitkabir to commemorate Ataturk. The head of government also hosts a cocktail for the celebration of the national holidays which is attended by politicians, diplomats, artists, bureaucrats, and Turkish citizens.
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day Celebrations in Turkey
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day is celebrated in Turkey every year on April 23. This holiday memorializes the opening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on April 23, 1920. The founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk dedicated this day to children to emphasize that children are the future of the nation. Every year April 23 is celebrated in Turkey as a national festival with great enthusiasm, where children take seats in the Parliament and symbolically govern the country for one day.
Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day Celebrations in Turkey
Commemoration of Ataturk Youth and Sports Day is a national festival that is annually celebrated in Turkey on May 19. It memorializes the day on which Turkey’s Independence War began in 1919. Ataturk dedicated this festival to ‘youth’, and since then this festival is celebrated in Turkey every year by especially young people commemorating Ataturk and many cities holding sports activities and nationwide celebrations.
Victory Day Celebrations in Turkey
Victory Day is annually celebrated in Turkey on August 30. Victory Day celebrations in Turkey are proud and with honor. This festival commemorates the victory in the Battle of Dumlupinar, which is the war that led Turkey to independence and honors Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and those who fought for the freedom and sovereignty of this country. Military parades, nationwide ceremonies as well as people adorning Turkish flags are parts of Victory Day celebrations in Turkey.
Republic Day Celebrations in Turkey
Republic Day is one of the most important and respected national festivals that are celebrated in Turkey every year. It celebrates the anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic on October 29 every year. The Republic day festival is celebrated with concerts and torchlight processions, nationwide ceremonies, adorning Turkish flags, etc.
Religious Holiday Celebrations in Turkey
Even though Turkey is a secular country, the big majority of the people living in Turkey are Muslims. Therefore, Islamic / religious festivals, which are the Ramadan Festival and the Festival of Sacrifice, are an important part of the public holidays and celebrations in Turkey. The religious festivals fall on different dates every year since these festivals are based on the lunar calendar.
Ramadan Festival in Turkey
Ramadan Festival, also called the Candy Festival by many, is an official holiday that is celebrated in Turkey every year, following a month of fasting in Ramadan. It is a three-day festival and it is a time of coming together with loved ones, visiting relatives, paying respect to the elderly, and helping the poor.
The Festival of Sacrifice in Turkey
Festival of Sacrifice is a religious festival that is celebrated in Turkey by the Islamic population every year. It is a four-day-long public holiday with the tradition of sacrificing cattle or sheep and giving away the meat to the poor. Just like the Ramadan Festival, the festival of Sacrifice is also a time of visiting relatives and friends, helping the poor, and coming together with the community.
New Year in Turkey
In addition to the national and religious festivals of Turkey, there are other special days annually celebrated in Turkey. One of the most important and favorite holidays that is celebrated with lots of enthusiasm in both Turkey and the rest of the world is New Year’s.
New Year’s celebrations in Turkey start on New Year’s Eve (December 31) and are followed by the next day, New Year’s Day, which is a public holiday. Many people in Turkey come together with family and friends for a big celebratory dinner on New Year’s Eve and some people exchange small gifts as a tradition. There are also many events and festivities happening on New Year’s Eve in city squares for people to celebrate the end of the year outside and have fun, such as concerts, music and art festivals, game nights, light shows, and fireworks.
For New Year’s celebrations in Turkey, most of the hotels, restaurants, and bars offer special New Year’s parties and menus for their customers. New Year’s celebrations in Turkey are a big and fun party for everyone whether they would prefer to stay in, or rather be partying out when the clock hits 12!