Holidays and Festivals in Turkey

Turkey's holidays and festivals paint a vivid picture of its rich cultural tapestry, blending centuries-old traditions with modern celebrations. Throughout the year, these events bring to life the country's diverse heritage, uniting people in moments of joy, reflection, and community. From the bustling streets of its cities during vibrant parades to the serene landscapes of the countryside in quieter celebrations, Turkey offers a unique way to experience the beauty of its culture. Whether you're a resident or a visitor, participating in these holidays and festivals provides a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the communal spirit and historical depth of Turkish life.

New Year's Day

New Year's Day is celebrated on the first day of January in Turkey. It's a fun day where families come together to start the new year with joy. People decorate their homes with lights and eat special meals that include delicious Turkish dishes. In many cities, there are parties and fireworks at midnight. Friends often give each other gifts to wish for a happy new year. It's a time of hope and making new plans for the future.

Ramadan Feast

The Ramadan Feast, also known as Ramazan Bayramı comes after Ramadan, a month when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. This feast lasts for three days, and it is a very happy time in Turkey. Families visit each other and eat sweet foods and traditional dishes. Children sometimes get small presents or money. It's a time for being kind, forgiving, and sharing with people who need help. Everyone wears nice clothes and feels very happy during this feast.

National Sovereignty and Children's Day

On April 23rd, Turkey celebrates National Sovereignty and Children's Day. This day is special because it honors both the opening of the Turkish Parliament in 1920 and focuses on children, who are the future of the country. Schools have celebrations where children sing, dance, and perform plays. In some places, children take roles in local government for the day to learn about leadership. It's a joyful day that shows how much Turkey values its children and their dreams.

Labour and Solidarity Day

Labour and Solidarity Day is celebrated on May 1st. It is a day to remember the importance of workers and their rights. People in many cities join parades and events to celebrate hard work and to remind everyone about the value of fairness and teamwork at work. This day is also a public holiday, so people have a day off to relax and spend time with their families. It's a chance for workers to speak up about making their workplaces better and safer for everyone.

Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day

May 19th is a special day in Turkey called Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day. It celebrates the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who started the fight for Turkey's freedom in 1919. This day is also about encouraging young people and celebrating sports across the country. Schools and communities hold sports events and ceremonies to honor Atatürk's vision for a strong and vibrant youth. It's a day full of activities, where young people show their talents and remember the importance of unity and progress.

Sacrifice Feast

The Sacrifice Feast, or "Kurban Bayramı," is one of the most important Islamic holidays in Turkey. It comes after the Hajj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, and lasts for four days. During this time, people who can afford it sacrifice an animal like a sheep or cow, and share the meat with family, friends, and those in need. This holiday teaches the values of sharing, caring, and giving to the community. Families gather for special meals, and it's a time of joy and togetherness for everyone.

Democracy and National Unity Day

Democracy and National Unity Day on July 15th is a very important day in Turkey. It remembers the failed coup attempt in 2016 and celebrates the strength and unity of the Turkish people. On this day, people all over Turkey come together to honor those who stood up for democracy and freedom. There are ceremonies and events that remind everyone of the value of peace and democracy. It's a day of reflection and commitment to the country's future.

Victory Day

Victory Day is celebrated on August 30th in Turkey. It marks a big win in the Turkish War of Independence in 1922. This day is filled with pride and joy as people remember the bravery of their ancestors. There are military parades and ceremonies where Turkish flags are proudly displayed. It's a public holiday to celebrate Turkey's independence and strength as a nation, reminding everyone of their country's successful fight for freedom.

Republic Day

Republic Day on October 29th is a very special day in Turkey. It celebrates the day in 1923 when Turkey became a republic. This day was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who wanted Turkey to be a country where everyone has freedom and equality. Cities across Turkey have parades, fireworks, and celebrations. People spend time with family and friends, remembering the importance of their country's history and enjoying the freedoms they have today.

Istanbul Tulip Festival

Every April, the Istanbul Tulip Festival transforms the city into a sea of color. Millions of tulips bloom in parks, along city streets, and in public squares, celebrating a flower once highly prized in Ottoman times. The festival isn't just about admiring the beautiful flowers; it also includes art exhibitions and lively events that showcase the city's culture and creativity. It's a time when the beauty of nature and the city's artistic spirit come together, offering unforgettable sights to locals and visitors alike.

Hidirellez

Hidirellez is a joyful festival on May 5th or 6th that welcomes spring. It revives ancient traditions of celebrating nature's renewal, good fortune, and well-being. During the festival, people engage in fun activities like jumping over fires, which is believed to purify and bring luck, and making wishes for the future. Music, dancing, and outdoor celebrations fill the air with excitement and happiness, marking the start of spring with hope and joy.

Mesir Paste Festival

The Mesir Paste Festival, held in Manisa, boasts a 500-year history and originated as a medicinal concoction. Today, it's celebrated for a week in March, where the highlight is the distribution of Mesir paste, a blend of spices and herbs known for its healing benefits. The festival, rich in ceremonies and musical performances, draws people from everywhere, underscoring the importance of health, tradition, and community unity in Turkish culture.

Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Championship

The Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Championship, taking place annually in Edirne, stands as the oldest wrestling event globally. Participants, called "Pehlivan," wrestle in a field doused with olive oil, a tradition that dates back centuries. However, it's more than a sports event; it's a cultural celebration featuring music, dance, and communal feasting. This championship honors Turkish heritage, demonstrating the enduring spirit of sportsmanship and tradition.

İzmir International Fair

The İzmir International Fair, the oldest tradeshow in Turkey, takes place in İzmir and features products and services from both Turkish and international companies. But it's more than just a trade show; it includes cultural events, concerts, and art shows, making it a lively celebration for everyone. It's a place where people can see the latest in business while enjoying the rich culture of İzmir and Turkey, appealing to both locals and visitors from all over the world.

Air Balloon Festival

The Air Balloon Festival in Cappadocia is a breathtaking event where hot air balloons fill the sky at sunrise, floating over the region's unique landscapes. This beautiful sight draws photographers and tourists from everywhere, eager to see the colorful balloons against the backdrop of Cappadocia's rock formations. The festival is not just about the stunning views; it's an unforgettable experience for everyone who attends, showcasing the natural beauty of the area.

İzmir European Jazz Festival

The İzmir European Jazz Festival celebrates jazz music with performances by artists from Europe and beyond. This yearly event in İzmir brings together fans of jazz in concert halls and outdoor settings, offering a range of jazz styles to suit all tastes. It's more than a music festival; it's an event that unites cultures and people through the love of jazz, providing a space for enjoyment and artistic discovery for serious jazz fans and those new to the genre alike.

Istanbul Music Festival

The Istanbul Music Festival is a major event for classical music, featuring performances by world-renowned orchestras, ensembles, and solo artists. Held in Istanbul's historic and cultural spots, the festival celebrates both the tradition of classical music and new, innovative pieces. It attracts music lovers globally and is a testament to Istanbul's enduring cultural influence and heritage, serving as a meeting point of cultures and musical expressions.

The holidays and festivals of Turkey are a testament to the country's rich cultural heritage, showcasing the blend of history, art, and community spirit that defines Turkish life. From witnessing the awe-inspiring Cappadocia Air Balloon Festival to enjoying the soulful melodies of the İzmir European Jazz Festival, each celebration offers a glimpse into the heart of Turkey. These events are more than just dates on a calendar; they are moments that capture the essence of Turkish traditions and the vibrant spirit of its people. As the seasons change, so do the celebrations, each with its own unique story and significance, inviting everyone to partake in the warmth and unity of Turkey's communal life. It's this enduring legacy of hospitality, resilience, and harmony that makes every day in Turkey a celebration of life's infinite beauty.

Upcoming Holidays (next six months)

HolidayDateDayType
National Sovereignty and Children's Day April 23 Tuesday Public Holiday
Labour and Solidarity Day May 01 Wednesday Public Holiday
Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day May 19 Sunday Public Holiday
Sacrifice Feast (Kurban Bayramı) Eve June 15 Saturday Public Holiday
Sacrifice Feast (Kurban Bayramı) June 16 Sunday Public Holiday
Sacrifice Feast (Kurban Bayramı) Holiday June 17 Monday Public Holiday
Sacrifice Feast (Kurban Bayramı) Holiday June 18 Tuesday Public Holiday
Sacrifice Feast (Kurban Bayramı) Holiday June 19 Wednesday Public Holiday
Democracy and National Unity Day July 15 Monday Public Holiday
Victory Day August 30 Friday Public Holiday

Holidays by Year

Previous Year: 2023
This page was last edited on 20 February 2024 at 10:38 PM (EST).