the appetizer:

Though Turkish cuisine is a fusion of Turk, Arabic, Persian, Central Asian and Greek cuisines, there are also many regional differences in Turkey's cooking, from the Black Sea's corn and fish to the eastern region's mezes and kebabs.

Global Destinations
Turkish boy with simit rolls  


Festivals & Feasts

Religious Holidays:

(dates vary from year to year because they are based on a lunar calendar)

Seker Bayrami, or Festival of Sugar, is a 3-day national festival marking the end of the Moslem holy month of Ramazan (Ramadan). It is a happy time spent socializing and exchanging gifts of Turkish delight and other sweets. Usually in February.

Kurban Bayrami, the most important religious holiday, commemorates the near sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham. God spared the child, allowing a lamb to be sacrificed instead. Throughout the country, those who can afford it sacrifice an animal in memory of this event and reserve a portion of the meat for the needy. Traditionally, some of the meat is fried in its own fat on a convex griddle. Usually in April.

Secular Holidays:


The Mesir Macunu (Power Gum) Festival in Manisa commemorates the curative power of a honeyed, many-spiced (41) elixir that restored the health of Ottoman Sultan Suleyman's mother over 400 years ago. (The number 41 holds a mystical significance to the Turks; the successful completion of certain events is commonly marked by saying a special phrase 41 times.) When cured, the Sultan's mother insisted that citizens of Manisa be given this concoction at her expense. Today's festival includes actors in period costumes staging its production. Bottles of the elixir are for sale, and the suggested dosage is 3 spoonfuls a day to eliminate most ailments.


Strawberry Festival in Bartin to celebrate the harvesting of the strawberry crop.

International Wine Festival in Urgup, the center of a successful wine producing region. Several small wineries in Cappadocia hold this wine tasting event.


Apricot Festival in Malatya, Turkey's apricot capital, to celebrate the harvesting of the crop.


Mengen (Bolu) Chef's Festival. Turkish chefs regale local and foreign travel writers and the press with samples of Turkish gastronomical delights.


Watermelon Festival in Diyarbakir with prizes going to the biggest.


From Eat Smart In Turkey. Reprinted by permission of Ginkgo Press.


Turkish Recipes

from Kate's Global Kitchen:

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This page modified January 2007