Turkey celebrates its culture like none else since Festivals are an integral part of every country but, the grandeur the country carries is beyond comparison. Connecting the local culture, authentic delicacies, traditions and history, an amalgamation of wholesomeness is produced. Which further delivers a vibrant part of Turkish life. In such a charismatic country, every day is like a festival but, few events reflect the traditions in the truest form. Scroll through some of the most popular festivals in Turkey, that are visited by people travelling from all nooks and corners of the world.

Traditional Festivals Of Turkey

Festivals In Turkey
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Certain factors are responsible for a country's tourism that includes its art, culture, food, festivals, heritage and history. culture is a very crucial factor that entices explorers. It cannot be denied that these factors are interconnected and mirror each other. Festivals and other cultural events in Turkey are the best way to mass entertain visitors. Here are few exceptional Turkish festivals that should be visited by everyone.

Tulip Festival Istanbul

Tulip Festival Istanbul

Tulip flowers are admired by the Ottoman Society since the 17th century and Istanbul, then known as Constantinople became very popular for it. Later the tulip fever kept growing and 12 years down the lane “the Tulip Era” became prevalent. It is believed to be the time during which the Ottoman Empire began to orient towards Europe. Istanbul Tulip Festival emerged later in 2006 when the city government planted tulips and it’s a constant tradition since then leading a collection of millions of tulips in the city’s avenues, parks and other open places.  Depending upon the weather permitting, the tulips bloom at the end of March or the beginning of April. They bloom for several weeks and can last for almost a month delighting both the eye and the spirit.

Traditional Fact

The tulip is a traditional symbol of Istanbul. It was brought to the city from Iran ages ago and was appreciated and cultivated here until tulip fever set in. In Istanbul, the Tulip Festival is more than just tulips but, other flowers are also planted for contrast and variety of shape and colour.

Event Date: March to May.

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Air Balloon Festival

Air Balloon Festival

In Turkey, the air balloon festival is quite popular taken as a beautiful visual treat for the eyes. The best thing is anyone can participate and treat themselves to the extraordinary experience of floating with hundreds of hot air balloons before sunrise. Popularly known as the Cappadocia balloon festival, this event with hot air balloon rides are the first things that come to mind when thinking of Cappadocia. Regarded as the world’s most fascinating and adventurous sights. Every year the time of the festival changes as per the season so, Cappadocia Balloon Festival 2021, will be happening in late August.

Traditional Fact

The organization is intended to make a significant contribution to the promotion of our country by expanding the number of participants by raising the brand value of balloon tourism each year.

Event date: August- September

Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival

One of the two most popular music festivals of Turkey, the Jazz festival is a cultural boost in the path of spreading Turkey music culture. Jazz entered Turkey in the early 19th century when this genre of music was a little different for people but they did not find it absurd or weird.  However, Jazz made its place where rapidly in the country as the concept of improvisation with the genre was embraced by the natives. And then the love for Jazz developed which gave birth to the Istanbul Jazz festival, and it hosts variant genres from jazz, rock, to folk artists from all around the globe. The festival accentuates the opportunities for meeting and exchanging cultures.

Traditional Fact:

The Istanbul Jazz is organized and promoted by IKSV “Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art. It is an NGO aiming to expand Turkey music culture. The festival focuses on classic,  jazz, folk, rock, and other genres of music.

Event Date: September

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Oil Wrestling Festival

Oil Wrestling Festival

The oil wrestling festival belongs to the ancient civilization of Greco Roman traditions and is approximately 600 years old as it is played since 1346. The wrestler who manages to dominate the opponent and get him into the position, where his back is completely placed on the ground wins the match. During the match, wrestlers are supposed to wear leather pants made out of buffalo leather and weigh about 13 kgs. These pants are called ‘kispet’. The oil on the body of the wrestler is applied to execute a fair match giving the common disadvantage of being drenched in oil. More than strength, the wrestle is about technique. The wrestling match is traditionally called a Kirpkinar, and whoever wins gets an ornate belt of gold along with 100,000 dollars, followed by the title “Champion of Turkey”.

The popular technique used for fighting the match is called the ‘Turk” which is all about catching the legs of the opponent between yours and lock him there in such a way that he fails to summon up the strength and return on his knees. Men belonging to any culture, religion or race can participate in the wrestling match. To enjoy pleasant weather in Turkey, attend all Kırkpınar oil wrestling tournaments, plan your trip in the months of June.

Traditional Facts: Kirkpinar Aga is launched by the patrons introducing all the participants. The ceremony takes place amidst the lively environment created by the beats of drums and shawms. The golden belt of victory is carried in the entire city although prayer is also conducted in Mosque honouring the belt.

Event Dates: June

Camel Wrestling Festival

Camel Wrestling Festival

The tradition of Camel wrestling is older than 2400 years, and each year the craze keeps growing. Since the awareness about the festival is growing, more and more people are joining with each passing year. The festival is traditionally known as the Camel wrestling festival of Selcuk, and its ground is set on the Aegean coast of Turkey. The match begins in Selcuk and the ground keeps changing from one region to another. The change of ground also depends on the number of spectators and other activities that are scheduled along with the wrestling. The ambience is very lit with all the decorated camel wrestlers, food stalls and enthusiastic people.

In the end, one camel is chosen winner, if any camel runs away or fall to the ground, it loses. The end of the festivals and victory is a very proud moment for the owner since all the struggle of the owner in maintaining camels' condition comes fruitful. Bets are placed throughout the match, and the execution of the wrestling takes place during the mating season. Compulsorily a female camel is paraded in front of males to evoke determination. Watching camels fighting is one of the most loved adventures in Istanbul, and people from far of countries visit to enjoy it.

Traditional Fact: Special type and breed of camels are used in camel wrestling. The festival was originated by the nomadic tribes. Locals train their camels primarily for wrestling since camels were the only source of livelihood.

Event Date: From December to March

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Ahirkapi Hidirellez Festival

Ahirkapi Hidirellez Festival
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The festival is celebrated, to awaken nature on a particular day of the holiday, the festival is celebrated with ancient rituals and colours. It is believed that on this festival the Muslim saint Hizir appears under the disguise of a mendicant appears to saves his people from disasters. As per the folklore, Saint Hizir has driven his characteristics from ancient fertility deities and is associated with spring planting and rebirth.

Apart from the spring festivals, the Hizir is also a patron saint for travellers who protect them from the haphazard ancient roads of Turkey. Ahirkapi Hidirellez Festival in Turkey is celebrated for marking the arrival of the season of the nurturing season. Locals are seen undergoing risky stunts which reflect their deep faith in the energies that will help in healing and curing.

Traditional Facts:

Most astonishing tradition that is discovered is, that locals jump into fire on the eve of the festival. People wishing for riches leave food bowls, and purses open. Several wishing trees are placed around with a belief of wishes coming true.

Event Date: May

Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Festival

Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Festival

Held in Konya Turkey, the Mevlana Festival and the ceremonies happen with a lot of pomp and show. The whirling dervish is the most popular element that takes place during the ceremony. It is a trance-like twirling dance representing the connection of the dervish with the almighty. The most important aspect of the Mevlana Festival is the Mevlevi Sema. So, for those who are visiting soon and searching for fun things to do in Turkey, then here is an option to check out the festivals and enjoy local food.

During the festival the poem recitation of the great Sufi saint Jalaluddin Rumi takes place. Saint Rumi is the world’s greatest philosopher and renowned as the father of the Mevlevi sect, thus special honor is granted. The exact date of celebration depends on the Islamic religious calendar also the date keeps shifting every year.

Traditional Facts

The traditional dance of the ascetic monks is performed on soothing music which creates such a positive aura that the spectators are left spellbound. All the monks dance in a choreographed pattern and move in synced steps creating circles with heads leaned unidirectional. Locals believe that when the hands are raised unanimously the divine messages from heaven flows to Earth.

Event Date: November or December

Mesir Paste Festival

Mesir Paste Festival

Mesir is a sweet dish of turkey which is traditionally believed to have therapeutic effects. Mesir paste was earlier produced during the Ottoman period as medicine made by various herbs, eventually, the paste became a part of local festivities in Manisa a small city in Turkey. Later few changes were infused in the paste, and the major change was the taste. The flavours of the paste were spicey earlier, and it is consisted of 41 different herbs and spices to check that everybody is well during Nevruz week every year. Mesir Paste Festival is celebrated during Nevruz which further marks the commencement of spring seasons that includes traditional practices and cultural associations. People from all corners of the world visit Turkey for attending traditional festivals. The arrangements are made for national and international visitors, Mesir paste is also offered as a token of hospitality as per Turkish traditions.

Traditional Facts:

A chef prepares this magic paste from 41 spices and herbs. Group of 14 women wrap the paste in small pieces of paper, and then it is blessed by 28 imams and apprentices and post this it is scattered from the top of the minaret and the domes of the Sultan Mosque.

Event Dates: March.

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Nevruz Spring Festival

Nevruz Spring Festival

‘Nevruz’ word stands for the first day or new day and it is celebrated as a new day of spring. However, it is widely celebrated in the north. The celebration is conducted for the awakening of nature as an ancient Turkish tradition. The festival is associated with various local traditions that include Forging iron, dancing on flames traditional dances and songs. If you are thinking to take your family on a fun getaway, then Turkey is among the best places to visit in March as it is the time for many unique traditional festivals. Traditional family meals and public meals are common in almost all regions.

Traditional Facts:

People partake in the fun activities such as dancing, decorating eggs, singing. People for far off places visit to enjoy the liveliness of the country and be a part of the positivity that cast a spell on spectators.

Event Dates: March

Turkey is a country rich in traditions and culture which, is reflected by its festivals. The age-old rituals have some or the other significance that not only cheer up the travelers but also evoke some knowledge about the country and its traditions. If you haven't been to Turkey yet, then it is recommended to visit soon and check out the traditional festivals of Turkey.


Q1. How is the Mesir Paste festival celebrated?

Also known as Spring festival Newroz. Many people get together near Sultan Mosque and catch Mesir wrapped in paper dropped from the roof of the mosque.

Q2. Where does the camel wrestling festival take place?

The camel wrestling festival is set in the ground near Selcuk

Q3. How to reach Selcuk?

The event is held close to Pamucak Beach near Selçuk. Wrestling ground is 7 km away from Selcuk, visitors can take a bus or cab to reach the area.

Q4. Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Festival is organized in which month?

The festival takes place either in the month of November or December

Q5. What is the reward for the winner of the Oil Wrestling Festival?

The winner gets an ornate belt of gold along with 100,000 dollars followed by the title “Champion of Turkey.

Q6. What is kispet?

During the match, wrestlers are supposed to wear leather pants made out of buffalo leather and weigh about 13 kgs in weight. These pants are called ‘kispet.

Q7. Why is Ahirkapi Hidirellez Festival celebrated?

Ahirkapi Hidirellez Festival in Turkey is celebrated for marking the arrival of the season of the nurturing season.

Q8. Where does the festival Mevlana Whirling Dervishes, happen?

The festival Mevlana Whirling Dervishes is held in Konya, in Turkey.