For most people, holidays are an occasion to spend time with their family and celebrate the most important historical or religious moments. In Turkey, holidays are categorized into national and religious (Islam) holidays – there are six in total. Four of them are national, while the remaining two are religious. In this article, we will take a closer look at the Turkey holidays in 2022.
Turkey Holidays 2022 – National Holidays
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
Date: April 23, 2022
National Sovereignty is a day celebrating not only the foundation of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 1920. It is also devoted to the children of the nation thanks to the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey – Mustafa Kamel Atatürk.
Atatürk loved children and cared very much about their future in Turkey. The holiday was supposed to bring joy to children who lost their relatives during the war. Over the years, the holiday has transformed into a grand celebration consisting of many festivals and, above all, ceremonies. The largest one takes place at the Atatürk Mausoleum in Ankara. The teachers symbolically sit in parliament that day, electing the “president” who will make a speech on national television. On this day, children from all over the world, ages eight to fourteen, come to Turkey to live with Turkish families for a week and take part in festivals.
Labor and Solidarity Day
Date: May 1, 2022
May 1 in 1923 was a workers’ holiday. But since this day was associated with numerous and brutal protests, in 1925, the holiday was removed from the calendar. It was brought back in 1935 under the name of the Spring Festival, which was celebrated peacefully until 1976 when workers organized the first demonstration in many years. A shooting at Taksim Square in Istanbul during a strike in 1977 led to removing the holidays from the calendar one more time. Out of 500,000 people, thirty-five were killed, and over a hundred were injured as a result.
The holiday returned in 2009, named Labor and Solidarity Day. Just like in many countries all over the world, administration buildings, schools, and most businesses are closed. On this day, citizens often take part in demonstrations regarding better working conditions and government decisions. Some choose to stay at home for their safety. Sometimes protests get out of hand, leading to suppression by the police. On this day, all foreigners coming to Turkey should take special care of their safety and stay as far as possible from the streets where the demonstration occurs.
Ataturk Memorial, Youth and Sports Day
Date: May 19, 2022
On May 19, 1919, the founder of the Turkish Republic – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – came to Samsun to start a popular uprising against the decision of the World War I allies to divide the territories of the defeated Ottoman Empire. The date of Atatürk’s arrival in Samsun was the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence – known as the Greco-Turkish War. In 1938, May 19 became an official national day.
On this day, young Turkish athletes run with the national flag from Samsun to Ankara. The marathon usually lasts about ten days. The President of Turkey receives the flag during a ceremony on May 19. Many people celebrate this day by watching sports competitions on TV or participating in sports events held in public spaces, such as half marathons.
Date: August 30, 2022
On this day, the Turks commemorate Turkey’s victory against Greece in the Battle of Dumlupinar (August 26-30, 1922). On Victory Day, citizens participate in military parades in major cities in Turkey. Air forces aerobatics team make a show, leaving red and white smoke trails in the sky, symbolizing the Turkish flag. Shops and houses are decorated with a flag and photos of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The leaders of the nation attend a ceremony at the Atatürk Mausoleum in Ankara.
Republic Day (Turkish Independence Day)
Date: October 29, 2022
The day commemorates the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, right after winning the Turkish-Greek war. During this time, many citizens celebrate in national stadiums, watching plays and skits in a theatre or performances of traditional folk dances. Students organize Republic Day performances for parents and teachers. Many parades take place at the same time, and politicians give public speeches.
Both the Day of the Republic and the Day of Victory are celebrated in Turkey similarly to corresponding days in many countries. Students also participate in school performances centered around the theme of a given holiday, parades and ceremonies are held in the city center, attracting citizens from all over the country. In Turkey, Republic Day also ends with concerts and a firework display.
Turkey Holidays 2022 – Religious Holidays
Ramadan (Ramazan) 2022
Date: April 2-May 1, days off: May 2-3
Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar. It is a sacred period for the followers of Islam, since during the holy month, the archangel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad, giving him verses from the Koran.
Ramadan is not a holiday; the holiday is the few days after it ends. The holy month is longer, and since it is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, it falls on different periods every Gregorian year – about ten days earlier. Therefore, if in 2021 Ramadan was from April 13 to May 12, in 2022, it is from April 2 to May 3 (a 3-day festival is after the holy month).
During Ramadan, believers must refrain from drinking and eating every day from sunrise to sunset – approximately 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. During this time, Muslims have to fast, but also cannot smoke and drink alcohol. They have to abandon any pleasurable activities. It is a time when honesty towards oneself and loved ones and avoiding any conflicts are important.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a 3-day festival called Ramazan Bayrami. These are the days when family members get together and celebrate the end of the fast together. It is a time of joy, exchanging gifts and sharing meals – traditional sweets and drinks such as baklava and Turkish tea play a special role. It is also an occasion to commemorate the dead. A special dish called pişi is prepared, which are large pieces of fried dough. Families give them away to neighbors and the poor in remembrance of their dead relatives.
Believers work during the holy month; however, the traffic is not as heavy as in the non-feasting period. In cities, restaurants are open, but the patrons come after sunset. However, in smaller towns, all businesses are most often closed until the end of the fast. Ramadan is an ideal time for sightseeing as Muslims usually stay at home to sleep until sunset. If you plan to go to Tukey to do business during this time, you had better do this before or after Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims work irregularly and may feel the discomfort of feasting.
Sacrifice Holiday (Id al-Adh) 2022
Date: July 9, to July 13
The Sacrifice Holiday falls on the 10th day of the 12th month of the Islamic Hijiri lunar calendar. It commemorates Ibrahim’s sacrifice – Abraham – and his obedience to God. On this day, every father sacrifices an animal – a lamb, a cow, or a goat. The family does not always eat the sacrificed animal; often, the meat is distributed to the neighbors or the poor. Many people tidy their homes and prepare a great feast for the closest ones. Just like during Ramadan, it is a good time to honor the dead and visit the cemetery.
Turkey holidays 2022 and business
The most important holidays in Turkey in 2022 (days off) are:
- National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, April 23, 2022
- Labor and Solidarity Day, May 1, 2022
- Ramadan Holiday, May 2-May 3, 2022
- Ataturk Memorial, Youth and Sports Day, May 19, 2022
- Sacrifice Holiday, July 9-July 13, 2022
- Victory Day, August 30, 2022
- Republic Day, October 29, 2022.
During public holidays, most businesses in Turkey are closed. While national holidays usually last one day, which does not have to conflict with business plans, religious holidays may affect your travel plans. Ramadan and the Sacrifice Holiday are very lively, and there may be heavy traffic. People travel to their families; business hours are different, and the fasting period is a time of rest for Turks. It would be best if you postponed inquiries with Turkish businesspeople. Turks are very family-oriented people; therefore, they are reluctant to work on holidays. They prefer to spend time with their family and celebrate holidays in traditional ways.
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