The Quirky Customs of NYE in Turkey

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Turkey dates back to 1935 when the Turkish Parliament made the first day of January a public holiday, after which this holiday became one of the most popular holidays in the country.

Just like most countries, the new year is celebrated in Turkey with elaborate celebrations that include fireworks and a countdown. Turks, especially those living in Urban areas have fully embraced the spirit of this holiday.

They spend time with family around a New Year’s tree and have a family dinner, or go out and party the night away. People also like to gather in big city squares to celebrate with the crowds.

New Year in Turkey is a time of celebrating life, exchanging gifts, dressing up, and partying. But it’s also the time for unique traditions, as the Turkish people have added some special customs to the occasion that reflect the quirkiness and uniqueness of their own culture.

Smashing Pomegranates

People here consider the pomegranate fruit to be symbolic of prosperity, wealth, and abundance. Many homes adorn decorative pomegranates all year long. But especially on New Year’s Eve, people have developed the habit of smashing pomegranates open, inside and outside their homes. Expect the sideways and the streets to be full of the smashed pomegranates and their seeds.

Wearing Red

The color red symbolizes passion and love universally. And we are all looking for love. Although some men in Turkey wear red on this occasion, it is mostly the women who wear red outfits, accessories, and even undergarments on New Year’s Eve. They do so hoping the new year will bring with it that perfect lover they are looking for, or even to bless the love they already have. Quirky.. No??

Turning on Faucets

When the clock strikes 12 at midnight, many Turks open their water faucets. This action is thought to bring good luck in the new year ahead.

Opening Padlocks

An action symbolizing opening oneself up to abundance and breaking away from negativity, Turks will open padlocks that they purchased especially for this occasion.

Sprinkling Salt

Many people sprinkle salt at their home’s doorway. The salt is thought to keep the evil at bay.

The National Lottery

Everyone and their cousin purchase lottery tickets for the Milly Piyango, the name of the National Lottery here in Turkey. The draw takes place on television on NYE, with the Jackpot alone being a staggering 100 million TL or 13,000,000 $.

As you can see, New Year’s eve is a popular and multi-faceted holiday here in Turkey. Although this year it won’t be the same as always with a nationwide lockdown taking place between the 31st of December and the 4th of January. We hope that next year things will go back to normal and that the excitement for New Year’s Eve will return with a bang.

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