New Year celebrations in Turkey
My friend, Selin, from Istanbul sent me information about December celebrations in her part of the world. Here is some of the basic information taken from her descriptions:
Although there are a lot of people living in Turkey as Jewish or Christian, the main religion is Islam. Therefore we generally don’t have Christmas celebration traditions throughout the country.
We just like to celebrate the new year beginning at the 31st of December. We give gifts to each other at 12 am of the 1st of January and share kisses with each other.
While the world is moving toward globalization, as you know, most things are becoming shared. That is also valid for Christmas trees. For the last maybe 10, maybe 20 years, in Turkey, people began to use pine trees as a decoration for the new year. This is getting criticism from some of the religious people though.
And meals; we mostly cook turkey (the bird)with rice (rice pilaf) for new year celebrations. And a lot of cold meals during that time. While playing games and watching TV, people like to eat casually.
For the last 10 years, people also began to go outside to public gatherings to celebrate the new year with champagne and fireworks. Companies build giant TV screens at the city’s circles so people can watch what is happening at the other gatherings in the world. YOU know especially this year was important — the beginning of the new millenium. TVs gave the celebrations all over the world during the day.
(Thanks to Selin)