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CHRISTMAS IN TURKEY
City

 

                                                     

Turkey is a Muslim country. Although there are Catholic and Jewish minorities, mostly Turks are Muslims. The Turkish minorities live in peace with Turkish Muslims and have their own places of worship. You will find churches and synagogues all over Istanbul. For the Muslims, December 24th is not a date  that commemorates Jesus’ birth. They do have Jesus at their Koran (Muslims’ Holy Book) the mostly important figure in their religion is Mohammed the prophet.

But they commemorate the New Year:

Homes and streets are lit up in glittering lights, ornamented trees, and garlands as well as various traditional Turkish aesthetic practices. Small gifts are exchanged, and large family dinners are organized with family and friends, featuring roast turkey, a special Zante currant-pimento-dill iç pilav dish, dolma, hot börek, baklava and various other eggplant dishes, topped with warm pide, salep and boza.

Television and radio channels are known to continuously broadcast a variety of special New Year's Eve programs, while Municipalities all around the country organize fundraising events for the poor, in addition to celebratory public shows such as concerts and family-friendly events, as well as more traditional forms of entertainment such as the Karagöz and Hacivat shadow-theater and even performances by the Mehter - the Janissary Band that was founded during the days of the Ottoman Empire.

Public and private parties with large public attendances are organised in a number of cities and towns, particularly in the largest metropolitan areas such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana and Antalya, with the biggest celebrations taking place in Istanbul's Taksim, Beyoğlu, Nişantaşı and Kadıköy districts and Ankara's Kızılay Square, which generally feature dancing, concerts, laser and lightshows as well as the traditional countdown and fireworks display.

Dolma (pl. dolmas or dolmades) is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions, including Turkey and Cyprus, the Balkans, many Arab countries, Iran and the Caucasus and Central and South Asia. Perhaps the best-known is the grape-leaf dolma, which is more precisely called yaprak dolma or sarma. Common vegetables to stuff include zucchini, eggplant, tomato and pepper. The stuffing may or may not include meat. Meat dolma are generally served warm, often with sauce; meatless ones are generally served cold, though meatless dolma are eaten both ways in Iran. Both are often eaten with yoghurt.

Börek (also burek, boereg, piroq, בורקס and other variants on the name) is a type of baked or fried filled pastry, from Turkey, made of a thin flaky dough known as yufka (or phyllo), and can be filled with cheese, often feta, sirene or kaşar, minced meat, or vegetables.

A börek may be prepared in a large pan and cut into portions after baking, or as individual pastries. The top of the börek is often sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and much of central and southwest Asia.