Mutlu Yillar (Happy Holidays) from Turkey

holidays turkey

Christmas
Day has arrived, and here in Istanbul, it’s just another Sunday but you could be fooled by all the festive decorations. Much of the city is festooned with colorful lights and ornamented trees, but with a Turkish twist. Most of the population is Muslim, while unlike in more conservative countries, many families will roast turkeys, decorate trees, and exchange gifts on New Year’s Eve. Turkey was the birthplace of St. Nicholas, and now Santa Claus (or Noel Baba) can be spotted on many Istanbul streets, selling lottery tickets. The traditional Christmas tree is called a Yılbaşı or Noel Ağacı and can be found (real or fake) at large supermarkets, while holly-like kokina plants with red berries are sold on street corners and in flower shops. No matter what, when, or how you celebrate, you can say Mutlu Yıllar (Happy New Year) and toast Şerefe to a great 2012.

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