Are you celebrating New Year in Turkey? If so, you are in for a real party – the Turks love New Year and all the party and cheer that comes with it!
At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking that Turkey celebrates Christmas. Head along to a shopping mall, popular resort or town restaurant, even a larger supermarket and chances are you will be greeted by a whopping great, tinsel loaded tree with flashing lights and maybe even a Santa. You will see pre-packed hampers, baubles, snowmen plates, silly hats and streamers in the likes of Migros or Tansas (supermarkets). Around town you will see billboards advertising New Year feasts, sometimes 7 or 8 courses with drinks and entertainment included, and in the local press you will find all the local events listed surrounding the big occasion. But in Turkey, all this festive decor and faff is not for Christmas, but for New Year.
New Year in Turkey
New Years Day is the only Turkish public holiday that isn’t a religious or national celebration. Turkey, as an Islamic country, doesn’t celebrate Christmas – but boy does it party at New Year!
New Year symbolises a fresh start the world over, Turkey is no exception. The Turks love to celebrate New Year’s Eve and it is a well-loved holiday. Locals either head to organised events or parties or spend time with friends and family at home. Either way, a vast spread of food, alcohol (for those that drink), cakes and the obligatory cay (tea) are normal offerings. Children are usually allowed to stay up to see in the New Year, the television is on showing live footage of celebrity parties and the big countdown in Istanbul’s crowded Taksim Square, and presents and gifts are normally given.
Turkey’s wonderfully quirky New Year traditions.
Most countries have their own New Year traditions and Turkey has some wonderfully strange beliefs. Here are a few of our favourite New Year traditions in Turkey:
- Red pants at the ready! Around New Year, shop front displays in Turkey get a make-over. What is normally a fairly conservative affair of roll-neck jumpers, tunics and long-sleeved tops become more like a shop front for Victorias Secret! Come late December lacy red knickers and skimpy red underwear are displayed as it is believed that wearing red underpants at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve will bring luck for the whole of the coming year!
- Salt on the doorstep. If you are in need of a little luck and spending NYE at home this year be sure to head to the kitchen, grab the salt and generously cover your doorstep come midnight. It is believed by many locals that this will bring peace and prosperity in the New Year.
- Walking after midnight. This tradition applies to those that are looking to travel, move or relocate in the New Year. Turks believe that taking a brisk walk soon after midnight will ensure safe travels.
- Pomegranate kernels on the doorstep. Smashing a pomegranate and spreading the kernels over the threshold of your home come midnight is supposed to bring luck and abundance for the next 12 months.
- Giving to charity or doing a good turn. A nice tradition comes with the belief that helping out the needy or giving something to those less fortunate on New Year’s Day will bring you happiness and luck in return.
Celebrating New Year in Fethiye
Fethiye is certainly gearing up for the party. Lots of the central Fethiye restaurants and bars are holding special nights with fancy feasts and buffets, belly-dancing and live entertainment. This year prices seem to range from around 150TL to over 400TL, from around £30 – £78 (Dec 2018) for the full evening, some including food and drinks. A few of the expat bars in the resorts like Calis, Ovacik and Hisaronu are also throwing parties, so if you are looking to spend the evening out somewhere popular, do book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Calis New Year Splash
Every New Years Day a bunch of brave souls get together to raise money for the local children’s charity 3C’s. Many of them dressing up in costumes, they pray for good weather and head down to Calis beach for a dip. This year they are meeting at midday at Summer Breeze restaurant in readiness to brave the waters at 1 pm. The deal is that they have to stay in the sea for 5 minutes before running for warmth. The fun event is open to anyone that fancies raising a little cash for the charity and sponsorship forms can be fetched from the 3C’s charity shop or the restaurant. Even if you don’t fancy getting wet, do head along and support them if you are in town, the charity does some wonderful work in the community.
Whatever you get up to this New Year, we hope that you enjoy the celebration. If you are in Fethiye and fancy popping in for a drink, please do. We can be found opposite Yali Taxi on the seafront promenade. In the meantime, Oceanwide Properties News and Oceanwide Properties wish you all a fabulous holiday night and lot’s of health and happiness in 2017.
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(Post updated Dec 2017)