10 Most Famous Traditional Festivals in Turkey

With over 4000 years of history, Turkey once had a considerably crucial location, surrounded by many great empires. The Ottoman Empire as well as other ancient civilizations have had a profound impact on Turkey's culture and art. Tourists who visit a foreign country are captivated by not only its natural landscapes and historical sites but also its colorful festivals and events as a vibrant form of culture. So Turkey must be your listed destination, which has many kinds of celebrations to offer explorers. In Turkey, you can experience public holidays, music concerts, religious events, regional celebrations, and other exciting forms of festivals. We'll recommend the top ten popular festivals in Turkey to help you plan your tour to Turkey.

Turkish Republic Day, the most dynamic public holiday throughout Turkey, marks the beginning of modernization and the new historical march of the country after a civil war and a war against Greece. It is observed annually on October 29. Turkey had been a republic since April 23, 1920. Then, on October 29, 1923, the newly opened Grand National Assembly declared the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. The holiday began at noon on October 28th and will last until tomorrow. Republic Day is closely associated with the Turkish people. The Turkish public holds this celebration to honor not only Turkey's independence but also Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first President of the Republic. The National Holiday is frequently held outside, and all government offices are closed on this day. During the celebration, the streets and squares throughout the country are filled with decorative Turkish flags of red and white. People hold a portrait of the founder at the front of the procession. During the holiday, many performances are put on at local stadiums. You can participate in poetry readings, traditional Turkish dances, and other activities. Take a visit to Ankara, the capital of Turkey, given the opportunity, because the city hosts the most festivities on Republic Day.

As early as the 12th century, wild varieties of tulips were first brought to ancient Turkey by Turkic migrators. By the 16th century, this kind of graceful flower was extremely preferred by the Ottomans. Then the colorful flowers were widely planted in Constantinople, now referred to as Istanbul. After that, the Ottoman Empire entered the 12-year Tulip Era, a peacetime when the empire began to orient towards Europe. As a national blossom in Turkey, the tulip holds a special place in the hearts of the Turkish people. The tulip blossoms begin to bloom every spring, from April to May. In preparation for the festival, millions of tulips of many varieties are planted across Istanbul in advance. During the festival, visitors will find a sea of colorful tulips flooding any corner citywide. You can enjoy them in the city's avenues, parks, and other open places. The full blossoms give tourists a wonderful sight to shoot. In addition to tulip viewing, you can also enjoy performances, exhibitions, and concerts held by the park authorities. There are several parks that are best for the Tulip Festival in Istanbul. You can visit Mirgan Park, Sultanahmet Square Park, or Gülhane Park, and so on. Some of these parks are close to the city's famous attractions, like the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

The Air Balloon Festival takes place in Cappadocia, a historical city full of unique attractions, including a moonscape-like valley, underground cities, and rock formations decorated with Byzantine frescoes. Even so, the exciting festival is also a mass magnet for tourists around the world. It falls on the first week of July every year and lasts for 4 or 5 days. Many tourists of all ages are drawn to the incredible experience of hot air balloon rides with other hundreds of floating hot air balloons. Hundreds of different hot air balloons come from different countries, and they are in the shape of variously lovely cartoon images. The floating experience in the sky provides the best opportunity to overlook Cappadocia in its entirety, complete with scenic rock formations, a clear azure sky, and a breathtaking cityscape. Even if you're on the ground, different types of colorful hot air balloons in the sky are also quite a sight to behold. You can shoot or video these wonderful moments. Other than balloon flights, you have a chance to enjoy local folk or exotic dances and a night glow show during the festival.

Camel wrestling is a traditional folk sport that dates back over 2400 years. The festival was first popular among the nomadic Turkic tribes, who engaged in such activity to strengthen their camels and compete against caravan owners. Today, the Camel Wrestling Festival takes place only in the Aegean region of Turkey. It begins in Selcuk and changes places from one region to another every year (like Denizli, Antalya, Balikesir, Canakkale, Manisa, Izmir, and Aydin). It is observed every winter from November to March - the rutting season when the big camels have the terrible mating battles that add more excitement to the wrestling. An ancient Roman arena can be a sea of spectators during a wrestling match. All of the participating camels are dressed in beautiful outfits that spell out their names. It is definitely a fresh experience to watch two very vibrant camels wrestle with each other. You just can't help but follow the local people's fevered applause. Other than the camel wrestling matches, you can partake in many events at the festival. You can enjoy Aegean dances and musical performances, try baked camel sausages, and watch camel parades.

Oil Wrestling Festival, officially referred to as Kirkpinar, is a traditional Turkish sport dating back to 1346. It can be seen as one of the greatest sporting occasions taking place in Edirne, in western Turkey. As a time-honored tradition, the Oil Wrestling Festival is an integral part of local people's lives and becomes a distinctive form to display the strength and bravery of Turkish males. The festival takes place annually between late June and early July, during which thousands of spectators flock to the competition site. Before the match, local authorities will put on performances with 40 Davuls and Zuma symphonies. Male participants of different ages, countries, or religions are eligible for the match. Participants will wear kispet, a traditional pair of pants made out of buffalo leather, and apply olive oil to their bodies. The oil ensures the fairness of the wrestling and prompts the wrestler to fully display his technique. The wrestler, locally called Pehlivan, aims to get his opponent into a position where his back completely touches the ground. The winner will receive the Krkpnar Golden Belt as well as a $100,000 bonus. Besides, he will win the title of "Champion of Turkey." The festival is full of cheer and delight. If you're traveling to Edirne, you certainly can't miss it.

Other than the Air Balloon Festival, the scenic city of Cappadocia is also home to the Cappadox Festival, one of the most hopping music-dominated festivals in Turkey. Cappadocia was first celebrated in 2015, when Pozitif, one of Turkey's leading entertainment companies, took advantage of the natural landscape in Cappadocia to create a solar-powered stage for the company's various forms of performances and activities. Despite being quite a new festival, Cappadox attracts thousands of audience members eager to soak themselves in the world of sound and light. The festival takes place against the backdrop of Cappadocia's breathtaking scenery. It continues for several days every year in June. Cappadocia, without question, would be another mass appeal for tourists within and outside Turkey. Not only musicians from home and abroad, but also artists and first-class chefs are invited to the festival. You can enjoy the wonderful music, contemporary art, and delicious local foods on this fantastic land. Besides, you have an opportunity to appreciate performances put on by well-known brands, such as Mercan Dede, Husnu Senlendirici, Karsu, Mum, and Rhye.

If you're a jazz enthusiast, you can't miss the Jazz Festival celebrated in Istanbul. The Istanbul Jazz Festival, one of Turkey's most bizarre music events, takes place every July. It was first held by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts in 1994. Turkish people were first exposed to jazz in the early 1900s. Turkish people quickly fell in love with this genre of music because of its improvisation and inclusiveness. Turkish jazz is characterized by innovation and accessibility, which make up the way the Istanbul Jazz Festival is today. The festival contains other music forms like pop, heavy metal, rock, or folk in addition to jazz. You can listen to different types of jazz here and definitely find out which genre of music you prefer. Even if you show little interest in jazz music, you will be infected by the great cheers from the other audience members. This festival provides a rare chance to feel the vigor and modernity displayed by this millennia-old city, Istanbul. If you happen to visit this city in September, don't miss the festival that displays various cultures in a pleasing form of melody.

The following festival is Rock n' Coke, a rock music feast that catches the attention of rock lovers. If you enjoy this genre of music, take a trip to Istanbul. It is celebrated at the end of every summer, just before the Istanbul Jazz Festival. It was also arranged by Pozitif, a large Turkish music company, and sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company. It's a widely popular open-air festival that is a favorite haunt of the younger population across the world. The Hezarfen Airfield in Istanbul is crowded by thousands of listeners from different regions in and out of the country at this time of year. Many groups of musicians and brands are invited to this two-day event. You have a chance to watch a stirring chain of concerts performed by Muse, Linkin Park, The Cure, Limp Bizkit, and other prominent headliners. Each of the bands can still pack out the venue, and no matter what you expect at the festival, you may discover your favorite brand. Although Rock n'Coke is dominated by rock music, it also embraces other music forms like house music. What's more, you can enjoy wonderful food and beverages or go shopping after performances.

The Mesir Paste Festival is one of the rare regional celebrations related to eating in Turkey. It is held in Manisa, in the Aegean region of western Turkey. It can be tracked as early as the Ottoman period, about 500 years ago. In 2012, this long-standing tradition was designated as part of the world's intangible heritage. Mesir is a kind of Manisan dish that is widely used as a medicine. The dish is produced with 41 different spices and herbs and filled with a traditional plate that is divided into five parts. The final Mesir Plate features five different striking colors. It was said that the initial plate was created by Merkez Efendi and miraculously cured an almost incurable disease Hafsa Sultan, the mother of Süleyman the Magnificent, acquired. Since then, Mesir Plate has become more and more popular in this small city, Mansia. Today, the Mesir Paste Festival falls between March 21 and March 24. During the festival, families in Manisa will meticulously prepare Mesir Plate. They will use various spices like ginger, anise, or pimento to make their own paste. It's a nice moment to partake in the construction of Mesir Plate with hospitable hosts and their children. The Mesir Paste Festival is an essential cultural custom that brings Manisan people together. It can be one of your must-attend festivals in Turkey.

Ramazan, or Ramadan in English, is one of the most important festivals for Muslims. It continues for the month of September in the Muslim calendar. In fact, Ramazan consists of two parts: the Muslim month and Eker Bayram, or Eid ul-Fitr. During the Muslim month, believers except patients, expectant mothers, infants, and travelers who have departed before dawn are required to abstain from eating, smoking, sexual intercourse, ignominy, and off-color remarks as a sacred way of self-cultivation and self-improvement. Most devout believers fast from sunrise to sunset. Eid ul-Fitr, following the Muslim month, is referred to as the candy feast that is hugely popular among children in Turkey. It is held to celebrate the perfect ending of the period of fasting. Candy stars at Eid ul-Fitr. At this time, various shapes of colorful candies fill the shelves at most stores in Istanbul. Local people exchange candy, coffee, or dessert with each other. Many locals have a family dinner outdoors. At night, mosques in Istanbul will be illuminated by Mahya, a decorative Ramazan light. At this three-day celebration, you can enjoy varieties of delicacies like Manti, gullac, and guvec. Besides, you can watch the Turkish shadow puppetry of Karagöz and Hacivat.

After reading the essential introduction to these ten popular festivals, you probably can't wait to take a journey to Turkey. Don't hesitate to make such a decision. These festivals mirror how Turkish people love their lives and honor their country's history. Whatever you expect, you will be entertained by Turkish traditions and vibrant arts and infected by locals full of immense zeal. It is recommended to plan early since it might be pretty hard to book a hotel at the peak of the festivals. And if you want to make the full of your exotic Turkish festival tour, contact Odynovo. We concentrate on creating tailor-made itineraries, and we'll follow your needs to give you a matchless authentic festival experience.

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