How do people celebrate Christmas…?

by Sima and Tracy

Christmas, the biggest holiday for the majority of the world’s population, is upon us and comes with every day closer. We asked ourselves how Christmas is different in Turkey and Germany.

How do people celebrate Christmas…?

…in Turkey?

Turkey is a country with big significance in the history of Christianity, it can be a very special time to discover Istanbul’s churches, malls and restaurants in the magic of Christmas. However, one thing has to be emphasized: Turkish people do not celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday with the birth of Christ (well, apart from the Christian people in Turkey). Therefore, Christmas decoration does not hold the same religious meaning like in Germany. Many Turks celebrate “Noel “(Christmas) on New Year’s Eve and decorate trees. These trees are called “New year’s Eve tree” and they exchange gifts with their loved ones. The basic reason is that Christmas is not an official holiday in Turkey, but the first day of the New Year is. Due to that, streets and shopping malls, especially in cosmopolitan areas, are draped with stunning Christmas decoration, and if you are lucky, you may even spot a Santa Claus.

…in Germany?

By contrast, Christmas is celebrated by the masses in Germany. A large part of the German Christmas celebrations is the time before Christmas: Advent. Every Sunday in December you light a candle on your Adventskranz (Advent wreath), which boosts the excitement for Christmas coming closer- candle by candle. Most people also have an Adventskalender (advent calendar). Starting on the first day of December, you open each day one little door or bag, which is traditionally filled with a loevely treat. Moreover, not to forget the Christmas tree: This is the place where you hide all the presents for your loved ones under. Families often even develop a ritual for decorating the tree together. Additionally, there are many Christmas markets where you can find a variety of Christmas themed food like gingerbread and cookies, drinks like Glühwein (mulled wine) and little treats like Christmas ornaments.

The mystery of Christmas

Nevertheless, the biggest mystery of Christmas remains unsolved. As anywhere else in the world, German children wonder who is bringing them their presents. Some people are convinced that it is Santa Claus, but in some parts of Germany people believe in a small angel called “Christkind”. At the end of the day, we think it’s just a matter of which costume is fitting your mom or dad best.


Written by Sima and Tracy


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