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27 November 2018 / Culture

National Holidays in Turkey 2019

There are a number of national holidays in Turkey throughout the year and public holidays can be a great time to visit and join in on celebrations. Turks are very patriotic and love to commemorate special occasions. If you happen to be in Turkey over any of the following dates, expect to see the national flag flying high and be prepared for music and dance performances or events in town squares across the country - you never know, you may even be asked to join in!

Public holidays in Turkey do, however, mean that government buildings, banks and many official offices will be closed. If you are planning on visiting Turkey for business, intend conducting any official paperwork, or wish to complete any Turkey property purchase, it is advised to avoid the following dates.

National Holidays in Turkey 2019

January 1st: New Year’s Day

Seeing in the new year is a big deal all over the world  and Turkey is no exception. On New Year's Eve, restaurants and bars put on special menus and entertainment, families gather and there are public events held in most towns and cities in Turkey. Those that stay at home tend to invite friends and family over to share homemade cakes and baklava, drink cay, play games and watch TV shows in readiness for the all important countdown to midnight. Although most places are open on December 31st, New Year’s Day is a national holiday and one locals normally spend in the company of loved ones at home.

April 23rd: National Sovereignty and Children's Day

National Sovereignty and Children's Day is a public holiday commemorating the first gathering of the Grand National Assembly (Turkish Parliament) on April 23rd 1920. People lay wreaths on Ataturk statues and, because the Turkish Republic was dedicated to children, kids take seats in parliament for the day. Concerts, marches and celebrations are held across Turkey and locals attend live music and dance performances.

May 1st: Labour and Solidarity Day

Otherwise known as "Workers" or "Labour Day", this is a national holiday dedicated to all those working in Turkey. It's a day companies thank staff, address any grievances and a day employees get to relax and spend time with family.

May 19th: Youth and Sports Day

Each year the youngs get to show off their skills on a day dedicated to them. Young men and women, teenagers and older kids take part in concerts, sporting events and shows in schools and public spaces around the country. During the run up to the holiday, up and coming athletes carry a flag from Samsun, where the War of Independence started, to Ankara, Turkey's capital city.

June 4th – 6th: Ramazan Bayram

The Muslim celebration of Ramazan (Ramadan) is one of two main Islamic holidays celebrated each year. In 2019 it starts on the eve of June 3rd, although the official three days public holiday starts on the 4th. You may hear this celebration referred to as 'şeker bayram' (sugar holiday) in Turkey. It marks the end of a month of fasting. Ramazan Bayram is a major holiday, you could almost liken it to the Islamic equivalent of Christmas. People visit relatives, kids are given sweets and toys, families gather and gifts are given and received. It is a joyous time and a holiday often extended by the government to allow locals a chance to relax and enjoy quality time at home.

July 15th: National Unity and Democracy Day

July 15th is a new public holiday announced in 2017 by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It celebrates democracy and freedom. The day has been declared as a time to remember the coup d'état attempt in 2016.

August 11th - 14th: Kurban Bayram (Feast of Sacrifice)

The Feast of Sacrifice is known in Turkey as 'Kurban Bayram' and is the second main Islamic holiday. In 2019 it starts on the eve of August 10th and runs through until the 14th. It commemorates the time Prophet Ibrahim was prepared to sacrifice his son to God but thankfully received a ram to sacrifice instead. The holiday falls 70 days after Ramadan each year. It is a 4 days public holiday that is often extended by the Turkish government. Men attend the mosque on the morning of the first day for special prayers and a ram or animal is often sacrificed with the meat spread amongst family, friends and the poor.

August 30th : Victory Day

Turkish flags fly high across the country as Turkey commemorates victory during the Battle of Dumlupinar in 1922. This battle determined the outcome of the War of Independence ultimately leading to the modern Turkey we know today.

October 29th: Republic Day

The last of the official national holidays in Turkey is Republic Day. This is a national holiday commemorating the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Processions, speeches, music and dance shows are held in town squares and schools around Turkey.

Celebrate with the locals if you get chance.

The dates mentioned above are the main public holidays in Turkey. These are the national days where official offices, banks and schools will be closed. Chances are, if you are planning on spending any significant time in Turkey, you may encounter a local or cultural festival of some sort. If you do see something advertised, head along for a look as it's a chance to gain a real insight into local life and customs. Many of the public performances are spectacular. Turkish traditional costumes, music and dance are quite unique and the performances offer some great photo opportunities. Refer to local press or ask locally if there are any events you could attend.

Please note: Some dates, especially those of Ramazan and Kurban Bayram, may be subject to change. The Turkish government often extends the two main religious holidays to help boost tourism and economy. If you are planning a Turkey property inspection trip or to visit Turkey Homes for any investment related matter during the above dates, please Contact Us.

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