Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

A Christmas Turkey

Filed under: Travel — Rick at 9:46 am on Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hi!  Remember me?  I used to post here about politics and travel.  Turns out, travelling by sailboat can be quite time consuming.  I have just managed to maintain my other blog, Red Sky at Night, aimed at other sailors, as Crew and I visit 60 to 70 ports each season.

We are now spending our third consecutive winter in Turkey and continue to find it both delightful and surprising.  Western Turkey, where we live, is modern with excellent roads, good telecoms, very good healthcare with universal coverage and the best (and most) produce I have seen anywhere.  But lets talk about Christmas.

Although Turkey is now 99.8% Muslim, Istanbul is still the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church as it has been since the fourth century.  There were churches and synagogues in this region long before the birth of Islam.

Christmas is not an official holiday in Turkey but New Years is.  In fact it is the biggest non-religious holiday of the year.  What does it look like?  Here are three local grocery stores.

Tansas grocery store

Tansas grocery store

The sign “mutlu yillar” translates to “happy new year”.

A local grocery store

A local grocery store

The marina Migros

The marina Migros

Then there are the “Christmas fashions”.

Chistmas fashion

Christmas fashion

Yes, it is warmer here than in Chicago.


More Christmas fashion

More Christmas fashion

I am not sure who buys these.  It is certainly not anything you would see worn in public here.

The local shopping mall is beautifully decorated for the season.

The local shopping mall

The local shopping mall

And of course there is Santa Claus.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus

Saint Nikolas, is a local hero.  He was born and lived in Myra, about 100 miles from here (Marmaris), in the fourth century.  In Turkey, he makes an appearance on New Year’s Eve and brings presents to children.

What Christmas in Turkey does not have is two months of blatant commercialism, manic shopping, and bad music.  These are things I do not miss.

And even the non-Chinese restaurants stay open.

1 Comment »

Comment by Bob

December 26, 2013 @ 11:28 am

Rick, it is so cold here and the air so dry,before I could respond to your very interesting report I had to put this old vermont hand cream on, called Bag Balm. Farmers use it-still-to rub on the udders of their cows when the udders become too dry and crack. Before I apply it to my palms in the morning, and it contains zero water content, my old hands look as dry, white and parched as those Dead Sea Scrolls. I bet sailors use it, too.

Christmas in Turkey. Roasting chestnuts with pita. Lemon and mistletoe salads(but no public kissing?). Stockings filled with Perry Como CDs sings in Kurdish. I can see it all now.

Santa better bring a new government too, Rick. The present one is quickly disintegrating. Wonder if that will fit in his sack. I can just see those industrious little elves hammering a new coalition together.Doo the elves get overtime? Hey, what kind of a mythic figure is Santa anyway??
I am quietly awaiting the revolution that will change Turkey into Pheasant-stan Has a nice ring to it, no?

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