There is often confusion in Turkey over the difference between Christmas and New Year’s Day, with the common misconception that they are the same celebration. Gülsüm of SAT-7 TÜRK shares her memories of celebrating New Year’s Day as a child in Istanbul in the eighties – and how the channel is now clearing up the confusion:

Every New Year’s Day we woke up to the smell of my mother’s cinnamon angel cookies. Each year the same artificial pine tree came out of storage – we loved to decorate it with different ornaments.

Christmas movies were broadcast in the afternoon on New Year’s Day, and those in the neighbourhood who didn’t have a television would go to the homes of whoever had one to watch.

For years, we adapted all Christmas traditions and practised them on New Year’s Day instead. The word “Christmas” was translated into Turkish as “New Year’s Day”. You could say this was a kind of cultural censorship. As a result of this censorship, the Turkish people thought for many years that Christmas and New Year’s Day were the same thing.

That is why, at SAT-7 TÜRK, we have attached great importance to explaining to our Turkish viewers what Christmas is and that it is different from New Year’s Day. Through special programmes starting in Advent, we tell the good news of the birth of Jesus. We film music videos of Christmas carols. We celebrate the joy of Christmas together in programmes on our channel. We broadcast Christmas messages from leaders of different churches.

This year we thought that, as believers working together at SAT-7 TÜRK, we are also like a church family. As a church, we will celebrate this special day together in front of the screen. With messages from the whole team, we will reach out to our audience and experience the joy of Christmas together.


  • Pray that Turkish viewers will understand the true reason for the season’s celebrations – the birth of Jesus!
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