Holidays in Turkey

Ramadan Bayram (or Eid al-Fitr, or Festival of Fast Breaking) and Kurban Bayram (or Eid al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice) are the main Muslim holidays in Turkey that are awaited with impatience. They always become an occasion to merge official holidays with the nearest weekend and to use them to get away from the city renting a villa in Turkey by the sea or travelling abroad. 

Formal weekends during these festivals may be stretched up to 4 or 9 days on the same principle as the usual for us New Year and May Day holidays. As on the eve of the Christian Easter, Ramadan Bayram holiday is preceded by the special Ramadan fasting. This fasting lasts for 30 days, it begins at dawn and ends with the last rays of the setting sun. During the daylight hours the fasting are forbidden to eat, drink and smoke. 

In the evenings and mornings special feasts occur when the fasting share a meal together and they invite guests, neighbors and sometimes even ordinary passersby to their house or an apartment in Turkey. This festive meal can easily take place on the street, in the central square or by the sea. 

Ramadan fasting ends with Ramadan Bayram Holiday. Its second name in Turkey is Şeker Bayramı (Sugar Feast). The dates of Ramadan fasting and the dates of the holiday itself change every year. 

Kurban Bayram is a traditional festival of sacrifice. Ritual sacrifices are performed in specially designated areas. In Istanbul and Antalya locals, observing the tradition, just symbolically order meat in supermarkets. The dates of the holiday change every year. 

New Year’s Eve is celebrated in Turkey among other public holidays, but only one day is a holiday, on January 1st. April 23th is celebrated as Independence Day and Children’s Day. May 19th is Ataturk Memorial Day, Youth and Sports Day. August 30th is Victory Day in the Turkish War of Independence. October 29th is the Republic Day of Turkey.