The Christmas and New Year period in Turkey is full of festivities and fun – albeit in a slightly different way than you might be used to. Discover how you can enjoy all the festivities of home – in a whole new way. Thinking of heading over to Turkey for Christmas or New Year? Do it, it’s a great idea. Although Turks don’t celebrate Christmas as such, many of the expats do and over New Year you are in for a real party!

At first glance, on sight of all the tinsel decked Christmas trees and baubles hanging from the shop windows, you would think Turks celebrate Christmas. In theory, Turks should make more of the celebration as St. Nicholas, the real Santa, came from Demre and spent many years along the Mediterranean coast around Fethiye and Patara. But, as a Muslim country, few Turks celebrate Christmas. In Turkey, the 25th of December is a normal day. All the supermarkets, banks and offices are open. 

Expats in Turkey do celebrate Christmas. In popular areas foreigners throw Christmas fairs, sell homemade mince pies, organise a grotto for the kids and run charity events to raise money for the needy. On Christmas Day you do see the red pom-pom hats paraded on the beach and hear the singing of carols in community churches. But, Christmas in Turkey is far more what you make of it yourself rather than the commercial day celebrated elsewhere. In Turkey, all the vital ingredients of Christmas are readily available, but it’s up to you to organise the celebration.

New Year Traditions in Turkey

Turkey has some wonderful New Year’s beliefs. You may see women head to the kitchen at midnight to throw handfuls of salt on the doorstep as it’s supposed to bring peace and prosperity for the coming year. You may also be gifted red underpants to wear on New Year’s Eve as some believe if red underwear is worn at the stroke of midnight you receive luck for the rest of the year. Others choose to take a brisk walk soon after midnight to promote safe travels in the coming year, and a few even believe smashing a pomegranate over the threshold of their home on New Year’s night it will bring good fortune their way for the next twelve months. Whatever you see, it’s sure to be in good spirit even if some of the traditions may seem a little strange to some. Wherever you are in Turkey over New Year, you won’t struggle to find somewhere to go or something to do. Many hotels, restaurants and nightclubs offer a special evening of entertainment. Check your neighbourhood to find out what’s on offer. You might need to make a reservation. Most city centres have firework displays at midnight.

Whatever you choose to get up to this Christmas and New Year, we at Turkish Home Offcie hope you have a fabulous time. Turkey is a beautiful country all year round, the winter is no exception.

If you are planning to visit Turkey over the winter period and would like to view some Turkish properties, please contact us on