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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Turkey Series at TurkishClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Turkish holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 1 - New Year’s Day. In Turkish, it’s called "yılbaşı".
Did you know that in Turkey, New Year's Eve is a flashy celebration with a festive dinner, bingo games, oriental belly dance shows and decorated Christmas trees? Like most of the countries in the world, Turkey enters the new year after 12:00 AM on the night between December 31 and January 1.
In this lesson you will learn about New Year’s Day traditions in Turkey and how they are celebrated nowadays.
Now, before we get into more detail, we have a question for you-
How do most people decorate their homes to prepare for New Year’s Eve and which myth is this tradition it’s based on?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
New Year’s Eve, in Turkish yılbaşı, is traditionally celebrated at home in Turkey. People consider New Year’s Eve a day for gathering with their relatives, neighbors and close friends. New Year’s Eve dinner is fascinating. Dinner includes turkey with chestnut stuffing, pilaf with chicken and nuts, pastries, and several side dishes and desserts. New Year’s Eve dinner in Turkey is generally rather flamboyant and is served using the best dinner set and table ornaments available in the household. Dried fruit roll-up, in Turkish called cevizli sucuk, snacks and fruits are also served to guests before and after dinner.
As New Year’s Day is considered a family holiday in Turkey, every member of the family, regardless of their age, gets involved and has fun. Especially after the New Year's Eve dinner, games like rummikub, backgammon, card games and bingo are enjoyed by all. The TV is generally kept on, and families will sit together and watch belly dance shows, in Turkish oryantal dans gösterisi, and sometimes people in the house also try their hand at a bit of the dance! Even if in the cities families celebrate New Year’s Day with the activities mentioned before, many Turkish people choose not to celebrate New Year’s Day, as some consider it a Western Tradition that isn't suitable for Turkish culture.
When one minute is left to the new year, the countdown, in Turkish geri sayım, starts on TV. People turn their lights off and set off their firecrackers. When mid-night strikes, firework shows, in Turkish havai fişek, take place in big cities such as Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara. Everyone hugs and kisses each other, and wishes each other a good year by saying “Happy New Year”, in Turkish Mutlu yıllar. Presents are exchanged along with new year's greetings. Children especially anxiously await this moment, knowing it's when they will receive their long-awaited presents.
There are also some interesting superstitions regarding New Year’s in Turkey. For example, some people believe cracking a pomegranate, or nar, in front of the door at 12:00 AM on New Year’s Day will bring prosperity and good luck in the coming year.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
How do people decorate their homes to prepare for New Year’s Eve and which myth is this tradition based on?
They prepare for New Year’s Day by decorating an artificial or real Christmas tree and putting presents under it. This tradition is not particularly related to Christmas from a religious perspective. Among the Turks there used to be an ancient cult revolving around a secret wishing tree, and its believed that this is where the tradition of decorating Christmas trees originated from!
So listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How do you celebrate New Year’s Day in your own country?
Leave us a comment letting us know at TurkishClass101.com. And we'll see you in the next lesson!

7 Comments

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TurkishClass101.com
Monday at 6:30 pm
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How do you celebrate New Year’s Day in your own country?

Friday at 4:48 pm
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Hi Maribel,

Some of the traditions about Turkish New Year celebration are borrowed from Christian counties but instead of Christmas day we do them on the 31th of December.

Cheers,

İçten
Team TurkishClass101.com

Maribel
Friday at 7:47 am
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Merhaba!

There are some traditions similar to the way we celebrate the New Year in my country. Typical dishes, gathering with relatives and friends, also the firework shows.

But kids got their gifts the 25th of December (Christmas day) Santa Claus… Since we are a mostly Christian country we celebrate Epiphany the 6th of January. Children receive gifts from the Three Wise Men.

http://www.turkishclass101.com/
Friday at 9:19 pm
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Hi Waheed,
Thank you for the cute emotions.😇:thumbsup:

Roza
Team TurkishClass101.com

waheed
Sunday at 6:37 pm
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:thumbsup:❤️️😄

Monday at 1:29 am
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Merhaba Moutayam
Thank you for posting! Where are you from?

Feyza
Team TurkishClass101.com

Moutayam
Sunday at 7:43 am
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It’s almost the same in my country