Popular Festivals and Celebrations in Turkey
Turkey is known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse traditions due to the huge number of civilizations that landed on its land. As a result, the country celebrates numerous festivals and celebrations throughout the year. Therefore, traditional Turkish festivals and celebrations are very popular in Turkey's cultural life, attracting the attention of locals and visitors alike. Moreover, thanks to Turkey's cool climate, geographical nature and advanced infrastructure, many cities in Turkey, especially Istanbul, host many festivals. These festivals and celebrations can be classified as the following:
Turkey is a secular country, but there are some religious ceremonies that the Turks celebrate as part of their culture and traditions such as:
It has another common name among Muslims which is Eid al-Fitr. This is a significant religious celebration marking the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Families come together, exchange gifts, and enjoy festive meals.
It has another common name among Muslims which is Eid al-Adha. This is another significant religious celebration marking about two months later of the Ramazan Bayramı, during which usually, the head of the family hurries to the places designated for slaughtering the sacrifice that he has chosen in advance, and divides it among the family, relatives, and the poor. Turks are keen to cook delicious foods prepared with the sacrificial meat, and serve them to their guests throughout the Eid period.
Mevlana Commemoration Ceremony:
It is held in Konya in December each year, it commemorates the death of the famous poet and philosopher, Mevlana Rumi. It includes Sema performances (whirling dervishes), poetry readings, and spiritual gatherings. Konya witnesses various activities during the commemoration of Mevlana, including many exhibitions talking about the great mystics, in addition to lectures in Turkish and English about the Masnavi, and Rumi’s other books.
Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayramı):
Celebrated on October 29th, this day commemorates the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. It includes parades, fireworks, and various cultural events. It was declared a public holiday in 1925, with a half day off on 28 October.
Victory Day (Zafer Bayramı):
Turks Celebrate this day on August 30th, this day commemorates the Turkish victory in the Battle of Dumlupınar, which marked the end of the Turkish War of Independence. It is marked with parades, ceremonies, and fireworks, and was declared a public holiday in 1935.
Atatürk Centennial and Youth and Sports Day (Atatürk’ü Anma Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı):
Turks celebrate this day on May 19 each year; it has been a public holiday since 1935. It is one of the most important turning points in Turkey's modern history, and the starting point for the Turkish war of liberation and independence led by the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, from Samsun, in the north of the country. As soon as the Turkish war of liberation and independence ended and with the proclamation of the establishment of the modern Turkish Republic, Ataturk dedicated this national holiday to the Turkish youth, in recognition of their heroism in defending their homeland and encouraging them to advance the newly born Turkish Republic and push it forward.
Art and Film Festivals
International Antalya Film Festival:
It is known as the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival. It is a film festival, held annually since 1963 in Antalya, and is the second most important film festival in Turkey. It is usually held in autumn at the Antalya Cultural Center (Antalya Kültür Merkezi, AKM). This prestigious film festival showcases both domestic and international films. It attracts renowned filmmakers, actors, and cinema enthusiasts.
International Istanbul Film Festival:
It is the first and oldest international film festival in Turkey, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. It is held every year in April in movie theaters in Istanbul, Turkey. It aims to encourage the development of cinema in Turkey and to promote films of quality in the Turkish cinema market. It features a wide range of films, including international and Turkish cinema. This includes screenings, premieres, and panel discussions.
International Istanbul Music Festival:
The Istanbul International Music Festival is a cultural event held every June and July in Istanbul. It offers a selection of European classical music, ballet, opera and traditional music performances with the participation of famous artists from all over the world. The festival was first held in 1973 and is organized by the Istanbul Foundation of Culture and Arts.
Cherry Festival ( Tekirdag Kiraz):
The Cherry Festival has been organized every June since 1962. The festival, whose first name was Kiraz Cumbusu. People from inside and outside Turkey participate in this festival. Cherry Festival contests, night parties, picnics, and performances, in addition to choosing Miss Cherry in the beauty contest that is held in the festival.
It is a Turkish oil wrestling festival where wrestlers compete for three days. It has been held annually, usually in late June, near Edirne, Turkey since 1360. Oil wrestling is a sport at the forefront of traditional Turkish sports where the wrestler who won the "chief" title only in Kırkpınar was known as the "chief wrestler" until next year's Kırkpınar wrestling. This festival continues to this day.
Culture, Art and Water Festival (Kizilcahamam):
This water festival, which is organized every year in Kizilcahamam, Ankara, offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy parties, folk dances, fashion shows and oil wrestling shows. It is held once in July each year. It hosts thousands of participants in the festival area of Soguksu Milli Park, where water flows from 4 sides, where those participants are welcomed with enthusiasm and joy by the fans.
What is the effect of festivals on the Turkish economy?
In the last few years, Turkey has become the 19th-largest in the world by nominal GDP, and the 11th-largest by PPP. The Turkish government has worked on developing its economy in all sectors which, in return, increased foreign investment in the country and opened the door to a new economic era in the region. On the other hand, the local and international festivals that the Turkish government organizes during the year, whether cultural, artistic, or traditional, generate a great income to the country which is a tourist country in the first place, where these festivals combine tourism and investment, whether through opening new investment projects in the festival areas or by increasing the power of real estate investment in the areas where festivals are held through renting, reselling, or others. Also, these festivals affect the Turkish construction market, which is positively affected by such activities and events.
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