This weekend while out shopping I realised that the piece about Christmas in Turkey I wrote recently as a guest blogger was a little in accurate. So I thought I would write about what I have discovered about Christmas in Turkey since I wrote that piece.
While I walked around the shops and listened to Wham sing Last Christmas, I admired the wonderful decorations in the shopping mall and the festive windows of the shops, I could be forgiven for thinking I was back in the UK. When I turn on the TV I am hit with Christmas adverts with Santa’s Sleigh and jingles bells playing as the theme music and the cinemas are advertising the latest Christmas flicks.
The supermarkets are offering hampers full of goodies for the table and the shops have gifts for the loved ones, there is wrapping paper and decorations and Christmas Trees fake and real. I read that you can get sleigh rides in Istanbul and they recently lit the cities Christmas lights.
But none of this is because the people of Turkey are celebrating Christmas, they are celebrating New Year. The traditions of Christmas from around the world have influenced the way in which New Year is being celebrated in Turkey.
You will also hear said that Santa Claus is from Turkey, well not quiet accurate, yes he was born on the shores of this fine country and is now buried in Italy, but that was in the times when Greece occupied parts of Turkey. But don’t get caught reminding anyone of this. He is in fact St Nicholas, and you will hear him called Noel Baba.
Instead of the Christmas traditions in Turkey you will find New Year traditions instead, you can not help but notice the amount of red underwear on display. At the bells it is tradition for the Ladies to change into new Red Underwear (a man must have thought that one up!) and the underwear is given as a gifts the funnier the better I hear. Gift givers may read an article or two to find what styles they appreciate most but as long as it’s red, it usually goes down well with the recipient. The water taps in the home are turned on at midnight to bring wealth in the New Year and sprinkle salt at your door to bring wealth and happiness to your home. There are many more I am sure, but also now new traditions are coming in, like decorating the house for the New Year celebrations.
But for us outsiders if we squint our eyes and forget that we are the only ones celebrating on the 25th of December you can be forgiven in think that the rest of the country is also joining us in the celebrations. At least we can all be assured that come the 31st of December we will all for once be celebrating together .
Happy Christmas to everyone and we wish you all a happy and prosperous year.
© 2010 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.