New Year’s Eve is one of the most popular holidays in Turkey. The New Year’s Eve traditions in this country include a family dinner, a national lottery drawing and a countdown to midnight. New Year’s Eve falls on December 31 in the Gregorian calendar.
Is New Year's Eve a Public Holiday?
New Year's Eve is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, December 31, 2023 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Turkey.
What Do People Do?
Many people in Turkey start celebrating New Year’s Eve with a large family dinner. The main course is traditionally a roasted turkey. Variety shows on television begin in late afternoon and continue until early morning of the next day. Many people play games while waiting for the clock to strike midnight. State TV channels announce the winning numbers of a New Year’s national lottery just before midnight. Many people in Turkey try to buy a New Year’s lottery ticket because it promises a large sum of money to the winner. Many people also congratulate each other, toast to a New Year and exchange small gifts at midnight between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Hotels, restaurants and nightclubs offer special entertainment programs on New Year’s Eve. Most places require early reservations. Some people go to city centers late on December 31 to watch the traditional fireworks. New Year’s Eve ends with a countdown to announce the arrival of a new year, and celebrations continue until the morning of January 1.
New Year’s Eve is not an official holiday, although many workers get half a day off. Administration buildings, schools and post offices may be closed in the in the afternoon of December 31. Supermarkets may also close earlier than usual. Many people celebrate New Year’s Eve in city centers, so traffic may be intense in the evening of December 31.
December 31 became the last day of a calendar year in Turkey in 1926 when this country started using the Gregorian calendar. Turkey and the Ottoman Empire used a solar-based Islamic calendar (Rumi takvim) prior to 1926. New Year’s Eve became a popular holiday in Turkey after the Turkish parliament made January 1 (New Year’s Day) an official holiday in 1935. Turkey has borrowed many of New Year’s Eve traditions from western celebrations of Christmas and Thanksgiving during the 1920s and 1930s.
The common symbols of New Year’s Eve in Turkey are:
The New Year’s tree (a decorated fir tree).
A roasted turkey.
Images of Noel Baba (the Turkish name for Santa Claus).
These symbols can be seen on New Year’s Eve in Turkey.