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National Holidays & Turkish customs

January 1st new years day. New Year’s Day in Turkey starts with fireworks after the traditional countdown at the end of the New Year’s Eve. Celebrations usually last until dawn and many people use the day off on January 1 to relax and visit friends and relatives. New Year’s Day is a public holiday and is generally a quiet day in Turkey on January 1. All administration buildings, schools and post offices, as well as most businesses are closed on this day. Public transport may run less frequently than usual because fewer people need to travel on this day. Highways may be overcrowded in the late afternoon because many people may be returning from out-of-town holiday centers.

April 23rd _ National Sovereignty and Children's Day. Is to Commemorate the first opening of Turkish Parliment in Ankara in 1920. This national holiday is dedicated to the children. Turkish schoolchildren take seats in the Parliament for the day and symbolically govern the country. They elect a president who then addresses the country on national television. Children’s festivals take place throughout the country. Government offices, schools and most businesses are closed on this day. Public transport routes may vary in the event of street performances.

May 1st Labour and Solidarity Day or May Day

May 19th Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day, this is a day to Commemorat the beginning of national liberation movement initiated in 1919 by Ataturks landing in Samsun this day is dedicated to the youth. marks the beginning of the War of Independence on the day Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk landed in Samsun, a symbolic move that led to the foundation of the Turkish Republic from the ashes of Ottoman Empire.

August 30th Victory Day - This day is to celebrate the Turkish War of Independence, it is dedicated to the armed forces. Military parades and ceremonies at monuments to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who founded the Turkish Republic, are some common ways to celebrate Victory Day in Turkey. Turkish flags often adorn shops, public offices and people's houses on this day. Administration buildings and schools are closed on this day. Workers in private companies may have a day off or work until noon, but most large supermarkets and shops stay open. Public transport routes may vary in the event of street parades.

October 29th Republic Day. Many people in Turkey celebrate Republic Day on October 29 by attending performances and participating in traditional processions with flags and musical bands. The Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk proclaimed Republic Day as Turkey’s most important holiday. Many people also lay wreaths to Atatürk’s monuments or visit Atatürk’s mausoleum in the country’s capital, Ankara. In the evening of October 29 many cities have traditional processions with flags and musical bands to commemorate Republic Day in Turkey. The processions usually end with fireworks, which begin after dark.

Public administration buildings, schools, post offices and many small businesses are usually closed on this day. Public transport schedules may vary. Public transport routes may change in the event of street performances and processions. The afternoon of the previous day, October 28, is also an official holiday.

After the end of Islamic month Ramadan, the Ramadan Feast, Religious holiday for 3 days

70 days after the Islamic month Ramadan, the Sacrifice Feast, Religious holiday for 4 days



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Like many other countries in the Mediterranean the Turkish community has many customs that are quite interesting to observe. The one that is extremely noticeable is their approach to hospitality. Turkish people are extremely welcoming; expect to hear them greet you with the words “hosgeldiniz”, this mean “welcome”.

You’ll also notice that you will hear a call to prayer from the local mosque, as devout Muslims pray five times a day.

Another noticeable custom is the removal of shoes before entering a home. This means that you’ll often see shoe racks outside houses on the patio, or to the side of the outside doorway of an apartment.

It’s also very normal for men to show open displays of infection, as Turkish men have no qualms about linking arms and it is very normal for two men to greet each other with one kiss on each cheek.

It is by no means any reflection on their masculinity! Other noticeable customs can be observed at meal times, no meal in Turkey is rushed, so sit back and relax and enjoy each and every course.

An evening meal kicks off with mezes (starters) main course dishes accompanied by bread and salad; followed up by a sweet (if you still have room for more).

Like other Med countries Turkish people speak with their hands, you’ll notice that words are emphasized by the flick of the hand or a quick shake of the head.

Another comical custom of Turkish people is there brutal honesty which is sometimes seen as a lack of being PC.

For example if a Turkish person notices that you’ve gained a few pounds they’ll quite openly tell you that you’re looking a little bit on the plumper side.

Or they quite happily ask you quite personal questions such as are you married, what is your job, why aren’t not married, why you don’t have any children.

Turkish people will ask you these questions, even if they don’t know you.

The main thing is not to take offence, it’s quite normal for a Turkish person to just come right out and ask what would be regarded as a “personal” question to a complete stranger.

One could say that they are just curious and not accustomed to taking their time to ask such questions of people they don’t know that well.

Turkish men are very masculine and act as providers, but when it comes to coming across babies they turn to mush and quite happily coo, pick up and kiss and embrace children.

Infact in Turkey it’s custom to spoil and smother kids lots of kisses and hugs.

As Turkey is a Muslim country you’ll also notice that traditional Turkish women keep their heads covered with scarves.

If you’re holidaying in Turkey it’s respectful to bring a t-shirt or a kaftan to cover up when you are walking around or hopping on the bus after a day at the beach.

Although Turkeys is a popular tourist destination, Turkey is also still quite a modest nation.

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The Ramadan festival for 2014 falls on the 28th June to the 27th July

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The Turkish Bayram national holiday starts on the 28th - 30th of July 2014. The 27th of July is when the festival begins with a 'half day' preperation.
All banks, schools and government buildings will close early on this day

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Banks, post offices, schools and other government offices close during public holidays in Turkey.

However, most large supermarkets and shops stay open.

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Kurban Bayramı is one of the most important Islamic religious festivals of the year.

The Public holiday starts on Friday 3rd oct and comes to an end on Tuesday 7th October 2014

The Kurban Bayramı holiday begins with arife (preparation) on October 3 (Friday), the first day is October 4 (Saturday) and the holiday continues for four days until the evening of October 7 (Tuesday).

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