Expats in Turkey have become big communities in different parts of the country. They have formed organizations that educate and encourage each other in various fields and help vulnerable groups in their communities. They occasionally meet to celebrate different festivals and commemorate special holidays. Below are some of the activities that take place in different months of the year on the expats calendar.
In the first month of the year, expats commemorate what they call “The Big Splash”, also known as the New Years Day Fancy Dress Dip. On this occasion, community members dress up in costumes and take a dip in the sea to garner support for the children’s charities they support. This year, expat communities in Calis gathered with other communities to celebrate this event. Calis Children’s Charity (3C’s) is one of the recognized charitable organizations in the area which hosts holiday markets and extravagant “Soul Train” gala events.
Turkish Highline Carnival is something to look forward to in the month of February. The festival that lasts for a week has been celebrated for a decade and it takes place in Geyikbayiri in Antalya. The events that take place include rock climbing. Experts dress up and traverse along tightropes tied between mountains hundred meters high from the ground.
Singles are not left out. A website, Yabangee helps those who look forward to mingling. Theme parties such as “Anti-Valentine Day” take place this month. Romantic spots such as Le Cuistot Bistro in Beyoglu’s Asmali Mescit serve the attendees and music performances are held by Cuban, jazz, and swing musicians such as the popular Uninvited Jazz Band.
Bodrum is a place to be in March. The Bodrum Bitter Herb Festival (Bodrum Aci Ot Festivali) is a two-day event that takes place in Bodrum’s Ortakent neighborhood. Stands with local products offer sampling dishes centered on Aegan’s famous wild greens. Guests are entertained with live music during this event.
James Joyce Irish Pub in Beyoglu hosts weeklong festivities to celebrate the Irish holiday of St.Patrick’s Day on the 17th of March every year. This popular venue for expats also hosts English-language quiz night during that week and other different festivities.
International Women of Istanbul (IWI) is an organization with hundreds of women that meet up for special events to support each other and different charities in the city. They also hold a themed-costume Spring Ball in April and Holiday Bazaar in December.
Alacati Herb Festival and the Urla Artichoke Festival are some of the two major activities that take place in April. Stages are set up in the town squares where cooking competitions are held, contests, and seminars. Hiking and different field trips also take place in the region. Izmir is a great place to be during this month but you are advised to book accommodation in advance because hundreds of thousands attend this festival in the past few years.
Various auctions take place as well as a series of raffles are sold. The 3C’s and Soul Train charity usually takes place during this month so look out for announcements. A biannual entertainment gala which is attended by thousands of people takes place in Fethiye with live musical performances entertaining the crowds.
Expat communities and event organizers often take a break in summer and just enjoy themselves doing what the holiday towns do in winter. This break is deserved and gets them ready for upcoming events.
Exciting events take place in the fall as events such as English language comedy nights, Spoken word, Toast Masters and Inter Nations events also take place this month.
Black Friday is the most anticipated as a lot of people count down to the third Friday of the month to shop items on their wish list at discounted prices. A few, however, celebrate the thanksgiving holiday which originated from North America.
Shoppers enjoy experiences given by holiday markets across Istanbul, Marmaris, Daylan, Fethiye, and Bodrum. Among the regular markets are Francophone Association Istanbul Accueli’s Noel Bazaar, the artisan collective Handmade Istanbul, and the Bomonti Kermes whose proceeds go to benefit the Fransiz Fakirhames elderly home.