New Year holds a special place in the hearts of people worldwide, and Türkiye is no exception to the joyous celebrations. Whether you’ve recently made Türkiye your home or are planning the move, finding out how the New Year is celebrated here is a delightful cultural insight. The question often arises: “Being a Muslim country, how do they celebrate the New Year in Türkiye?” For many, experiencing similar cultural events is key to maintaining the warmth of a family holiday in the new year.

Here we come with great news: Türkiye enthusiastically embraces the festivities of the New Year! Although January 1st was officially recognized as a holiday only in 1981, the tradition of celebrating the New Year has seamlessly blended with national characteristics. The grandest celebrations are organized in major cities like Istanbul, Antalya, İzmir, Ankara, Bursa, Eskişehir, and Mersin, especially in areas with a higher population of foreigners. In contrast, smaller towns and villages observe the new year more quietly.

Turkish New Year: Traditions, customs and festive atmosphere 

Major city centers come alive with large-scale traditional Christmas markets adorned in rich decorations from mid-November onwards and the festive reflects a very similar atmosphere as seen in Europe. By early December, Christmas trees become visible in areas frequented by tourists. The festive preparations extend a warm welcome to foreigners, ensuring a delightful holiday experience. Turkish New Year’s Eve is marked by lively celebrations, concerts, and dazzling fireworks displays. Procuring pine trees for Christmas and New Year celebrations is also very popular among Turkish families.

Christmas and New Year decorations are readily available in stores representing both national and international brands such as Koçtaş, IKEA, Bauhaus, and Tekzen.

Those who have obtained Turkish citizenship through real estate investments, especially within the Russian and Ukrainian communities, take the lead in organizing numerous entertaining programs for the holidays.

Türkiye’s Unique Connection to Santa Claus  

Türkiye adds its own unique touch to New Year celebrations with its very own festive hero – Santa Claus, affectionately known as “Noel Baba” in Turkish. Historically hailing from the ancient city of Myra, present-day Demre in the province of Antalya, Santa Claus’s roots are deeply embedded in Türkiye. Located 6000 km from the North Pole, Myra is believed to be the birthplace and home of Saint Nicholas. In the global spirit of the season, Turkish children partake in the tradition of writing letters to Santa Claus, expressing their heartfelt wishes for gifts and spreading joy.

Tangerines and the New Year Spirit in Türkiye

As a distinctly modern Muslim country, Türkiye provides a plethora of entertainment options for everyone to enjoy during the New Year celebrations. While some families opt for cozy gatherings at home, engaging in board games and tuning into special New Year TV programs, others take to the dance floors for a night of lively festivities.

Emblematic of the holiday season, tangerines claim their place as the second most familiar symbol, making their presence felt more vibrantly in Türkiye than anywhere else. During this time, tangerines and oranges ripen abundantly, gracing gardens, streets, roadsides, and city parks with their vibrant hues.

Global Flavors: Russian Delicacies Join Türkiye’s New Year Celebration 

New Year in Türkiye is embraced as a family-oriented holiday, marked by the preparation of traditional Turkish dishes. While there’s a nod to the American and European traditions with the preparation of stuffed turkey, Türkiye adds its unique twist following the authentic Turkish recipe. Additionally, a touch of international flair can be found on Turkish New Year tables with dishes like Olivier and herring under the fur coat, which are particularly popular among the Russian community. These specialty dishes, integral to the New Year celebrations for many, are readily available in stores catering specifically to Russian tastes but are not commonly seen on typical Turkish New Year tables.

Claim Your Luck: Türkiye’s Tradition of Milli Piyango in the New Year 

In Türkiye, the most popular New Year’s gift is the “Milli Piyango Bileti” or national lottery ticket, available for purchase starting November 1. The Milli Piyango jackpot for the new year presents an opportunity for winners to claim fantastic amounts. The jackpot hit its peak in 2018, reaching an impressive 70 million Turkish liras ($11.7 million). What adds an interesting twist to the story is that the fortunate winner of 2018 never came forward to claim the prize. Following the rules, the unclaimed amount was subsequently returned to the treasury.

Seaside Serenity: Türkiye’s New Year Bliss by the Mediterranean 

Celebrating the New Year beneath a snow-covered tree holds its own charm, but there’s an unparalleled beauty in introducing the New Year at the seaside of the Mediterranean — underneath palm trees, surrounded by lush blooms. It’s a lifestyle to be enjoyed. In Türkiye, the greatest gift you can bestow upon yourself for the New Year is to invest in an apartment along the seashore.

Antalya Development extends warm wishes for the fulfillment of all your New Year’s aspirations!