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Before you go

Turkish Public National Holidays 2014

Turkey celebrates a number of public Turkish holidays throughout the year when banks, administration buildings, schools, government offices and some businesses are closed. Tourist attractions stay open, but as many Turks take short breaks at these times, they may be busier than usual. If you are planning to travel to Turkey during these peak periods it is wise to book interstate flights, tours and accommodation well in advance. If driving, roads are busier than usual. Following is a list of Turkish national public holidays for 2014 to help you plan your vacation. 


List of Turkish Holidays 2014

Wednesday 1 January: New Year's Day
Wednesday 23 April: National Sovereignty and Children's Day
Thursday 1 May: Labor and Solidarity Day
Monday 19 May: Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day
Sunday 27 July – Wednesday 30 July: Ramadan (Ramadan Bayram) Feast
Saturday 30 August: Victory Day
Friday 3 October: Sacrifice Feast Eve
Saturday 4 October – Tuesday 7 October: Sacrifice (Kurban Bayram) Feast
Tuesday 28 October: Republic Day Eve
Wednesday 29 October: Republic day


New Year’s Day

New Year's Day is celebrated on 1 January each year. For many people, New Year's Day is a time to recover from New Year's Eve parties the night before. People living in big cities in Turkey traditionally celebrate the New Year in city squares, from where they can watch fireworks at midnight between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Small-town residents often try to come to bigger cities for the celebrations. The morning of January 1 is usually quiet. People who celebrated the New Year’s Eve in out-of-town locations, such as ski resorts, generally start returning home in the late afternoon. It is also common for people to visiting relatives and friends who were not around them on December 31 and for people to exchange small gifts to each other.


National Sovereignty and Children's Day

Solemn ceremonies and children’s festivals take place throughout Turkey on National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, held on April 23 each year. Children take seats in the Turkish Parliament and symbolically govern the country for one day. Many people in Turkey are attending local ceremonies or laying wreaths at monuments of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.


Labor and Solidarity Day

Labor and Solidarity Day in Turkey is an occasion for some people to demand better conditions for skilled laborers and union workers. Many others use the day to relax and see their friends and relatives. Some people in Turkey participate in demonstrations on Labor and Solidarity Day. 


Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day

The Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day in Turkey features state ceremonies and sports events throughout the country on May 19 each year. Many Turks also observe May 19 as Ataturk’s birthday. Although the exact date of his birth is not known, Ataturk used to say he was born on May 19. Many people lay wreaths to Ataturk’s monuments and hang Turkish flags outside their windows.


Ramadan (Ramadan Bayram) Feast

The Ramadan Feast in Turkey is a time for visiting relatives and paying one’s respect to older people. Many Turks give away sweets and desserts during the festival, and children may watch free Turkish shadow plays. Highways may be overcrowded, especially in the evening of Ramadan Feast Eve, morning of the next day and in the afternoon of the last day of the Ramadan Feast, as many people travel on these days. Many people use the official public Turkish holiday to travel abroad or go to Turkish resorts.


Victory Day

Victory Day in Turkey commemorates the key Turkish victory against Greek forces in the Battle of Dumlupınar (August 26-30, 1922). The outcome of the battle determined the overall outcome of the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1923). Military parades and ceremonies at monuments to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who founded the Turkish Republic, are some common ways to celebrate Victory Day in Turkey. Turkish flags often adorn shops, public offices and people's houses on this Turkish national holiday.


Sacrifice (Kurban Bayram) Feast

The Sacrifice Feast commemorates the story of Ibrahim (Abraham), who sacrificed a ram after showing his willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God. Many people buy new clothes and prepare some meals during the Sacrifice Feast Eve in Turkey. Many people also tidy their houses and make preparations for guests who may wish to stay overnight during the four-day Sacrifice Feast that follows the Sacrifice Feast Eve. The head of each household may choose a sacrificial animal (usually a goat, sheep or cow) for the Sacrifice Feast on the eve of the festival. People who wish to visit relatives in other cities may travel on this holiday. Some families sacrifice an animal on the Sacrifice Feast Eve to remember their dead relatives. They give the meat of that animal to the poor or distribute it among the neighbors. Families may not eat the meat of an animal they sacrificed on this day. Visiting the cemetery is also common during the Sacrifice Feast Eve. Traditionally, on the first day of the Sacrifice Feast in Turkey, men of each family go to a mosque for a special morning prayer. Then the sacrifice ritual begins. In some regions in Turkey, people paint the sacrificial animal with henna and adorn it with ribbons. The butcher reads a prayer before slaughtering the animal. Families share about two-thirds of the animal’s meat with relatives and neighbors, and they traditionally give about one-third to the poor. Traffic congestion on highways may occur because many people travel to other cities during the Sacrifice Feast Eve. Because the beginning of the Sacrifice Feast coincides with the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, both domestic and international travel in Turkey may be intense during this period.


Republic Day

Republic Day marks the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. After Turkey’s victory in the War of Independence (1919-1923), the Turkish parliament proclaimed the new Turkish state as a republic. A new constitution, which the parliament adopted on October 29, 1923, replaced the constitution of the Ottoman Empire. The leader in the Turkish War of Independence, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, became the country’s first president on the same day. According to Atatürk, Republic Day is Turkish most important public holiday. Many people go to local stadiums on October 29 to watch performances dedicated to Republic Day in Turkey. Such performances usually consist of theater sketches, poetry readings and traditional Turkish dances. Many school children participate in school performances for parents and teachers. Parades may take place in some cities and politicians may give public speeches on this day. Many people also lay wreaths to Atatürk’s monuments. In the evening of October 29 many cities have traditional processions with flags and musical bands to commemorate Republic Day in Turkey. The processions usually end with fireworks, which begin after dark.