Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas In Turkey

How do you spend your Christmas? If you're in America, you are most likely going to a church service on Christmas Eve, singing jolly songs and having a family dinner. Then all the children go to sleep as early as they possibly can anticipating Santa to come, if you are on the "good list." The next morning you wake up, eat some fresh cinnamon rolls, and open presents in your PJ's. Families get together, exchange gifts, and maybe even go visit a special friend in the evening. At least this is how I remember Christmas, in America.

What Does Christmas Mean?
I have been and still being asked: "What are your plans for Christmas?" At first I responded with an answer like "nothing" or "sitting at a cafe." However, you see, what they mean is, what are you doing for New Years? While Turkey has a variety of respect for religion, Islam is still the majority, so Christmas, the religious and commercial version, is swept under the carpet. The Turks, in my opinion, consider New Years as Christmas.

What Makes Christmas in Turkey?
You won't see the Salvation Army people ringing their bells nonstop in front of Wal-Mart. You can and will see Christmas light on some trees, and some buildings, but nothing even remotely close to the intensity of America. You will see snowflake decorations in the windows of shops. Many homes buy a "Christmas tree," but for the purpose of New Years! Unlike my own tradition, you have to buy your tree from the store. While you may be able to cut a tree somewhere else in Turkey, I wouldn't know nor have I seen.

Decorating the "Christmas Tree"
My Christmas in Turkey:
Well, I lived life like any other day on Christmas. I did treat myself to a Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks as well as some cinnamon rolls and sat in front of Ege Park (A mall). Then went to Bostanli to play some Backgammon until 4AM.

I do remember last year a special friend, Gonca, came over with a card and a bottle of white wine. She was dressed up and made me get ready to go out and celebrate. Such a sweetheart! :D

Christmas AKA New Years:
Turkey has adapted their marketing and commercialization just like that of America. While turkey does not have "Black Friday" (Day after Thanksgiving shopping), they do start to market and promote bargains about the second week of December. While everyone in America buys and shares gifts on Christmas, Turks buy and share gifts on New Years Eve. If you are lucky you get a pair of brand new red underwear!!

Ceyda in her lucky red underwear, hahaha! :D
So I can say I miss my family and friends dearly, especially after missing my second year of Christmas. However I do look forward spending this "Christmas" in Uludag, a ski resort, with a "christmas tree, sharing gifts and laughter!

*I do not own the first Photo*

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