Every country has their set of holidays, whether it’s a national acknowledgment or religious belief.
Much of Turkey is Islamic, or Muslim, and they take pride in their religious practices and follow their beliefs quite seriously. If you are planning to visit Turkey, it would be helpful to know their national and religious holidays, so that you’re aware of the cultural customs around you.
Turkish National Holidays
Let's review the Turkish national holidays:
January 1st: New Year’s Day
Turks celebrate New Year's Day with a big meal and gift giving. They typically take the day off of work.
April 23rd: National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
On April 23rd, 1920, the Turkish Grand National Assembly was established. April 23rd is celebrated as a day where the country established its independence from the Ottoman Empire and Constantinople Government. The founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, loved and cared for children, so April 23rd is also intended to be a celebration for kids. That day is the only day intended for children to feast on.
May 1st: Labor Day and Solidarity Day
Turks typically take the day off of work.
May 19th: Ataturk Commemoration and Youth & Sports Day The founder of Turkey traveled from Samsun to Istanbul as a soldier of the Ottoman Empire. He took the lead of the national struggle on his shoulders and organized his people to defeat the enemies. The 19th of May 1919 marked the beginning of the Turkish Independence War.
July 15th: Democracy and Liberty Day An attempt to remove the Turkish government and its power was led by a terrorist organizer known as Fetullah Gulen on July 15th, 2016. The Turkish Nation was strong enough to resist the attempt, and July 15th is celebrated as a holiday where their country’s democracy is celebrated and appreciated.
August 30th: Victory Day The Battle of Dumlupinar was won by Turkey in 1922, and August 30th is celebrated as the day that Turkey was officially recognized as Turkish land.
October 28th and 29th: Republic Day The 29th of October is the anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic in 1923. They celebrate by taking 1/2 days each of those days.
Turkish Religious Holidays 2023
Here are Turkey's religious holidays:
The Ramadan Feast: 23 March - 20 April with additional celebrating 21 - 23 April. Believers of the Islamic faith don’t eat anything from sunrise to sunset, and they can eat after the evening prayer and before the morning prayer (adhan). The religious fasting ends on the 30th day and then the Ramadan Feast begins and lasts 3 days.
Kurban Bayramı (Sacrifice feast): 27 June - 1 July
Each family sacrifices a lamb or cow as their budget allows. They eat a part, give some to friends, and offer some as charity. Transportation can be delayed or canceled. Banks and businesses are closed. Major museums are often closed. Plan ahead!