Public and Religious Holidays in Turkey - How Will They Affect Your Visit

Public and Religious Holidays in Turkey - How Will They Affect Your Visit

  • Turkey Trip Planners
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  • 08/06/2022
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It’s always a good idea to check out Turkey’s and Istanbul’s official, public, national, regional and religious holidays before planning a trip or a sightseeing excursion. Please pay special attention to the religious holidays since they change yearly.

Most popular tourist events and shops open their doors on national holidays, but are closed until 13:00 on the first day of religious holidays. Both the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar are closed for the full duration of religious holidays, and also on October 29th. Banks are closed during all holidays — national and religious.

Avoid trips on both religious holidays, id-al-Adha, because traffic intensifies dramatically. During these holidays Turks visit their relatives all over the country. Also please note that May 1 demonstrations in and around Taksim and Kadıköy often end quite agitated. Don’t take unnecessary risks, and avoid crowded areas such as Taksim, Nişantaşı, Beşiktaş and Kadıköy on May 1st.

Public holidays in Turkey

For the following holidays, banks and offices are closed but touristic attractions will stay open. It is worth noting, that May the 1st has always been a popular day for demonstrations in the Taksim area of Istanbul, and although police presence is heavy, you should avoid the area at this time.

  • January the 1st: New Year’s Day
  • April 23rd: Sovereignty and Children’s Day
  • May 1st: May Day
  • May the 19th: Youth and Sports Day
  • August the 30th: Victory Day
  • October the 29th: Republic Day

New Year’s Day – January 1

On January 1, New Year’s Day (Yılbaşı) is observed all around the world. It is the first day of the Gregorian new year.

National Sovereignty and Children’s Day – April 23

National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (Ulusal Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı) commemorates the foundation of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey at Ankara in 1920. It is the only Turkish holiday devoted to the children, as they are the nation’s future.

Labor and Solidarity Day – May 1

Like it is observed in many countries, Turkey also celebrates May Day (Labor and Solidarity Day).

Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth & Sports Day 

Thursday, 19 May 2022 / Friday, 19 May 2023

Dedicated to the youth with the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The day is also for the memory of Ataturk’s giving the start for the War of Independence from Samsun 19th of May, 1919. Features state ceremonies and sports events. Locals hang Turkish flags outside their windows.

Democracy & National Solidarity Day

Features celebrations for the failed coup attempt in 15th of July, 2016.

Victory Day

Saturday, 30 August 2022 / Sunday, 30 August 2023

Victory Day commemorates the Turkish victory over the Greek and allied forces in the final Battle of Dumlupinar (26-30 August 1922) ending with the overall outcome of the War of Independence (1919-1923). Feature military parades and ceremonies. Locals hang Turkish flags outside their windows.

Religious Holidays in Turkey

Two religious holidays occur and their timing changes every year according to the Islamic calendar. Road trips during these periods are generally avoided since traffic is heavy, with Turks visiting families in their hometowns. Banks and offices will close for the duration of these periods. Attractions and historical sites will often close for the morning of the first day and open for normal business in the afternoon.

Seker Bayram: A 3-day festival marking the end of Ramadan feast

  • 2014: 27th of July
  • 2015: 17th of July
  • 2016: 7th of July

Kurban Bayram: Known as the Sacrifice feast, this is a four-day festival honouring the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his youngest son to Allah

  • 2014: 4th of October
  • 2015: 23rd of September
  • 2016: 11th of September

Ramazan

Many Turks fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramazan(RAH-mah-zahn, called Ramadan in other countries). Restaurants are less busy at lunch, and there’s even less Turkish tea in evidence (which is amazing).

Kurban Bayramı

Called Eid el-Adha or Eid el-Kebir in Arabic, Kurban Bayrami (koor-BAHN bahy-rah-muh) is the most important Islamic religious festival of the year, and a 4 or 5-daypublic holiday in Turkey.

(For an account of a memorable Kurban Bayramı I spent in Eastern Turkey, see Eastern Sacrifice.)

Minor Islamic Festivals

Festivals such as Aşure Günü, Mevlid-i Nebi, and the kandils are not public holidays, but mosques are illuminated, special foods and treats are prepared, and you can participate, actively or passively, in the celebrations. You should at least know the dates so you understand what’s going on.

For month-by-month details of weather, holidays, festivals and tourist seasons, see Tom’s Turkish Almanac.

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