Fouilltes de Sagalassos

Merry christmass and Happy new year in Istanbul

on 01/01/2014


Fire work on Bosphorus

Istanbul, the unique city standing between two continents,looks forward to welcome its precious guests with its amazing architecture and views in the last minutes of the year. Istanbul will be a wonderful experience for the people who spend their first minutes of the new year in a different place. No matter how far you come from, Istanbul is always ready to welcome you warmly and while you are cruising on the Bosphorus and drinking your wine, you will have the privilege to feel the atmosphere of Europe and Asia at the same time.

As, for obvious reasons, Christmas is not a public holiday in Turkey. Life in the streets just goes on as usual. Some of the shops were sporting a little Christmas decoration (Father Christmas (in Turkish: Noel Baba) and/or a Christmas tree), but it is overall more festive in preparation for the celebration of the New Year.

The different Christian communities in Istanbul, though, were very much in Christmas spirit, and stepping into their churches (40 in Istanbul in total), one felt instantly transported to Western Europe. On 24th December, Christmas Eve, there was carol singing at 9pm, followed by a Christmas mass at the main Catholic church on Istiklal Caddesi, St. Anthony.

People living in big cities in Turkey traditionally celebrate the New Year in city squares, from where they can watch fireworks at midnight between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Small-town residents often try to come to bigger cities for the celebrations. In Istanbul, for example, many residents and visitors participate in festivities at Taksim Square, Nisantasi Kadikoy and Bagdat  Caddesi. New Year’s Eve generally ends with a countdown, but parties and street performances last until dawn.

Late celebrations are also common for house parties with friends and relatives and festivities at hotels and restaurants. The morning of January 1 is usually quiet. People who celebrated the New Year’s Eve in out-of-town locations, such as ski resorts, generally start returning home in the late afternoon. It is also common for people to visiting relatives and friends who were not around them on December 31 and for people to exchange small gifts to each other

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