Local Festival and Tradition of Turkey

Updated on Apr 30, 2024 | Turkey e-Visa

Tradition and festivals are the roots of a country. Festival fosters social bonding, unity and diversity. They play a significant role in fostering the cultural significance and tradition of the country. The festival exhibits the long-past traditions carried by generations and is a reflection of their heritage. Besides, the celebration, festival and tradition of a country play an essential role in human’s social life as it brings forth community members to celebrate their beliefs, customs and values, passing them to the next generations. Apart from this, local festivals and traditions significantly promote the local economy by attracting tourists from around the world. 

Turkey, with its rich culture and heritage, is best known for its local festivals and traditions practiced and followed in the land for years. Centuries of history and civilization left a lasting impact on Turkey’s art, festivals, culture, and tradition. Along with the magnificent landscape and historical site, Turkey celebrates a variety of vibrant festivals, traditional religious events, cultural events, art and music. Here are a few local festivals and traditions practiced in Turkey: 

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Ramadan or Ramazan, is the most important religious festival for Muslims in Turkey. It is quoted as the holy month, which is celebrated on the 9th month in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar. The entire month of Ramadan is celebrated with great devotion. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims practice fasting from sunrise to sunset as their tradition, except for infants, pregnant women, patients and travelers. At the end of the day, community people or family members come together to break their fast after the prayer, which is religiously observed as Iftar. They often break their fast with dates and water, followed by a meal, believing that dates are the favorite of Prophet Hazrat Mohammed.

While the whole day is devoted to God and fasting, the evenings are celebrated with love, such as the joy of sharing sweets and special prayers in mosques. 

Mesir Paste

The Meri Paste festival of Manisa, Turkey, is considered as one of the centuries-old festivals dating back to the Ottoman Empire period. The Meri Paste Festival is bending the country’s rich history, which has been followed by generations. The paste is said to have therapeutic properties, which played a significant role in curing the illness of Hafsa Sultan, wife of Yavuz Sultan, the Ottoman Emperor. The special paste is prepared using 41 different herbs and spices. Soon, the celebration of Mesir Paste evolved into a tradition in Manisa. Every year from the 21st to the 24th of March, the Mesir Paste is prepared as per the traditional practice and distributed to every person from the Sultan Mosque. Since then, Mesir Paste has eventually become a Manisa dish used as a medicine to enhance health and well-being.

The celebration of the festival also includes people dressed in costume to perform the traditional music which includes a theatre performance of preparing the Mesir Paste. 

Cappadocia Air Balloon Festival

The Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Festival is an annual event held in the spectacular landscape of Cappadocia. The surreal view and vibrant hot air balloon attract numerous travelers from all around the globe. The festival time changes every year, but eventually, it falls between the months of July and August. The history of the festival dates back to the 2000’s, when a group of enthusiasts decided to explore the breathtaking landscape of Cappadocia in a unique way, using hot air balloons. As the experience was exciting, over time, the Cappadocia Air Balloon Festival gained popularity and has become one of the major tourist attractions of Turkey. Even from the ground, the vibrant air balloons in the sky are quite a view to hold dear.

The Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Festival gives a surrealist view of hot air balloons with different colors, sizes and shapes. Additionally, there are plenty of cultural activities and entertainment, like traditional music and dance. 

Kadirga Festival

Kadirga Festival is quoted as a significant festival that exhibits the cultural heritage and rich traditions of Turkey. This traditional festival takes place in one of the Yayla, also known as the plateaus, which is located about 25 km from Tonya in the Trabzon Region. The Yayla region is home to magnificent treeless mountains, and the mountaintop is where the festival takes place. Kadirga festival is an annual event that takes place during the third week of July and lasts for up to three days. The mountain is surrounded by the Beşikdüzü territories, namely Tonya, Torul, Görele, Macke, and Eynesil. People from the surrounding districts will gather on the mountaintop wearing the traditional dress. 

People play their traditional music and perform the traditional dance while ascending up the mountaintop. The festival has been passed to generations since the 1400's and is one of the ancient cultural festivals of Turkey. 

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Hidirellez Festival

The Hidirellez or Hidrellez festival of Turkey is celebrated on the 6th of May, which is regarded as the first day of spring. The Hidirellez festival is celebrated to welcome the spring season, the harvest season and hope to gain a thriving harvest. The history of the Hidirellez festival dates back centuries, based on a belief that the day signifies the meeting of Hizir (Al-Khidr), who helps the people in distress, and prophet Ilyas (Elijah), ruler of seas on earth. Various religious cultures and ceremonies are attached to this festival. Leaping over the fire three times will ward off upcoming diseases or illnesses, animal sacrifice and distributing them to needy people, wrestling matches, making wishes on rose trees or sending them into the water source such as the sea or river as offerings, etc. 

The traditional practices and beliefs of the Hidirellez festival vary in different regions of Turkey. The festival is celebrated, marking the arrival of good fortune. 

Festivals are an integral part of the ancient tradition. In that regard, Turkey is rich in local festivals that amuse travelers beyond imagination. Turkey’s diverse cultural heritage is reflected by the country's local festivals and traditions. The ancient cultural events and traditional beliefs and practices add more significance to the country’s cultural identity.


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