A Historical Look at New Year's Celebrations

A Historical Look at New Year’s Celebrations

Every beginning is a new hope. It becomes even more important if this beginning is also a new year.

As we start a new year, wishing that this year will be better is a phenomenon worth celebrating. To experience this joy with our loved ones, to turn a new page, and to have a belief that what happened in the past year will be left behind… All these cause us to celebrate New Year’s Eve with joy and hope. Celebrating the New Year; It is a form of saying let’s open a white page.

Maybe the new year is an important opportunity for us to get together with our loved ones, which time offers us.

New Year Culture in Istanbul

At first, the New Year celebrations in Istanbul were at home, in front of the television, or in modest entertainment venues. Menus suitable for the winter season were prepared, chestnuts were cooked by the stove, and popcorn was made in a hot pan.

As entertainment, games of chance such as bingo were played with the household, and cheerful songs of the country’s most valuable artists were played on television. Everyone would wait until 00:00 and focus on drawing lottery tickets with excitement.

In the events outside, entertainment venues and taverns were full and stylishly dressed Istanbul ladies and gentlemen would have fun in these places.

Later, the New Year’s Eve parties began to be celebrated with festivities held in the squares and streets. When the clock strikes midnight, the fireworks are set as if to illuminate the Bosphorus, and the concerts continue until the morning hours.

Today, this habit continues, but it is a fact that some Istanbul families still celebrate this re-start day at home, as in the past.

Those who want to celebrate the new year in a more luxurious way fill the restaurants and entertainment venues and dance to their heart’s content.

Just as we enter the new year, wishes are made, songs are sung, gifts are given to their owners in the most precious form.

I wonder how New Year’s Eve, which is celebrated in this way in current times, was celebrated in the Ottoman period.

New Year Celebrations in the Ottoman Empire

The political leaders of the Ottoman Empire joined the New Year’s Eve celebrations for the first time in 1829 by attending the New Year’s Ball held on a ship in the Golden Horn by the British ambassador.

In addition, Abdülmecit, one of the Ottoman state leaders, attended the New Year’s Eve ball given by the French ambassador in 1856.

After that, Muslims started to participate in the celebrations held by non-Muslims in Istanbul. Especially Beyoğlu was the address where the celebrations were most intense.

The first official New Year’s holiday took place in 1936. On New Year’s Day 1938, M. Kemal Atatürk published a reply to the New Year’s greetings for the first time. The answer was as follows: “On the occasion of the New Year, telegrams are coming from all over the country expressing the high feelings and sincere wishes of the citizens. Specializing in this, Atatürk ordered that his thanks and wishes of happiness be conveyed.

We wish you a healthy and joyful new year this year and the next…

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