Christmas Cheer in Turkey: A Guide for Foreign Visitors

Created20.12.2023, 17.00
Updated31.12.2023, 00.16

Do you hear the bells? It’s the magical time of the year! The world is celebrating the coming of 2024 and the birth of Christ.

If you wish to spend Christmas vacation in Turkey, you must have lots of questions. Let’s answer them all!

Is Christmas celebrated in Turkey?

Is Christmas celebrated in Turkey?Short answer, yes. But Christmas celebrations here are a little different. Turkey doesn’t have a formal religion but most of its population is Muslim. So most Turks don’t celebrate the birth of Christ.

But this doesn’t make Turkey any like Dickens’s Scrooge in flesh and blood. There is a big, and growing, expat population here. They don't leave their Christmas cheer at home!

As for the non-Christian Turks, they welcome New Year’s Eve with excitement. Join, and you will not miss a bit.

A traditional Christmas dinner in Turkey is a common culture. Families get together for mouth-watering dishes and bingo. They often have turkey, chicken soup, and sarma. Going out to restaurants, bars, and hotels is also common.

Do you enjoy this social variety? Then Turkey is perfect for you! Buying property in Turkey may be your wish for the new year.

Are there Christmas church services in Turkey?

Surely! There is a big Christian community in Turkey, and they like to celebrate Christmas in a church. They come together to sing carols and say prayers. Gift baskets are also common for ceremonies.

Famous churAre there Christmas church services in Turkey?ches in Turkey are:

What Christmas traditions are popular in Turkey?

While exploring traditions for Christmas in Turkey, you will see the customs you are familiar with. Christmas trees, cheerful people, and a gift-buying rush!

Note that Christmas Day in Turkey is not a public holiday. But plenty of schools and works close or run half-day.

The expat cities in Turkey on Christmas have the best vibes. These include Antalya, Muğla, Mersin, İzmir, İstanbul, and Ankara.

Almost all hotels and restaurants have special programs with entertainment options and menus. Act quick and get a reservation!

The National Lottery is one of the most exciting traditions in Turkey’s New Year. Many Turks dream of winning the big lottery from an early age.

Are there Christmas markets in Turkey?

Are there Christmas markets in Turkey?Yes, plenty! You can find a Christmas market in most cities in Turkey. With a budget, you can buy gifts and Christmas decorations.

Some of the biggest ones are:

Also, you will find Christmas shelves and corners in almost all markets, stores, and shopping centers. They have all the Christmas ornaments. These include trees, globes, balls, finials, Nutcracker figures, Christmas lights, and dinnerware.

Secret Santa in Silk: Do Turks exchange gifts on Christmas?

Of course! This special month is almost over, so it’s time for gifts! But exchanging gifts is more popular for New Year's Eve than Christmas.

Gift-giving rituals have an important part in Turkey’s culture. They play a prime role on all special days.

Most schools and workplaces embrace this tradition too. Near the end of December, they make lotteries to exchange gifts. This helps to strengthen people’s connection with each other too.

Bonus: Story Time

Did you know that Santa Claus has Turkey originations?Did you know that Santa Claus has Turkey originations? Let’s have a little history session!

Few people know that St Nicholas is the Santa Claus. Fewer people know that he was born in 280 A.D. in Patara, a coastal town in Kaş, Antalya.

He was a wealthy person, both in goods and at heart. He would secretly drop coins down the chimneys of the poor. He would travel across the country to help them.

To this day, the Church of St Nicholas in Antalya honors his memory. His original coffin was here until the 10th century.

Even non-Christian Turks love the idea of Santa Claus. They call him Noel Baba, which means Father Christmas.

When Clocks Stike Midnight

The whole country is a riot of color when the clocks strike midnight. Firework shows take place in all cities. Such a wonderful way to welcome 2024!

Celebrating Christmas in Turkey will be an enjoyable memory. Spending a whole year in Turkey will be even more exciting.

Our real estate agents will find you the best properties according to your wishes. They will help you to live this magic atmosphere longer.


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