Happy New Year from Istanbul

Mutlu Yillar means Happy New Year in Turkish

New Year celebrations here in Istanbul are over, and the decorations are coming down; although some shops, restaurants, and private houses are still festooned with typical decorations. To celebrate New Year, there are ornamental Christmas trees, street lights, and even Santa Claus, to be found all over the city. This is because Turkey uses all the trappings of Christmas to celebrate the New Year. ...even down to a turkey dinner, and presents from Noel Baba (Father Noel).

Noel Baba waves to passers-by on Bagdat Caddesi where I live

The presence of Santa Claus is not that surprising, considering he was born here, in Turkey. Saint Nicholas was born in Patara on Turkey's Mediterranean coast during the 3rd century, and became Bishop of Myra. He gained a reputation for secret gift-giving, and it was rumoured he had extra pockets sewn into his cloak that he filled with fruit and candy to give to children. This gave rise to the story of the kind Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus), who secretly leaves presents on Christmas Eve.

Many shops were beautifully decorated like this one...

...and this one

Christmas trees were everywhere...

...in different guises

...my local hairdresser had one in their salon.

All along the street were installations reminiscent of Christmas - like presents...

...and baubles...

...although I wasn't sure about the bear...

...or the elephant!

According to numerologists, 2015 is going to be a year of abundance and happiness, so here is wishing you everything you wish yourselves, and may this be the happiest of Happy New Years!

by Elizabeth Coughlan


  1. Happy New Year to you too! Istanbul does look pretty festive! Let's just hope the gov't doesn't try to capitalize on Saint Nicholas like I recently read in the news.

    1. Happy New Year to you too, Joy. I hope the same thing about Saint Nicholas!


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