CELEBRATING A TURKISH CHRISTMAS
Executive Assistant Annamaria shares what a Turkish Christmas is like: from the celebrations of churches in Istanbul to the general approach to Christian festivities from the wider population.
Christmas in Turkey is celebrated like any other country where Christian worship is allowed by the government. There is a huge celebration on Christmas night where churches are pretty much full. It is a beautiful sight. Of course, on important days like this, there are always police positioned at the church gates for security.
My church is very famous. Each year it holds a televised ceremony where two people who are engaged dress up as Mary and Joseph. Last year it was my fiancé and me! Some people are hateful towards Christianity, and occasionally posters are put up saying, “Do not celebrate Christmas, put up trees or befriend a Christian, as this will take you straight to hell”. But people usually don’t take any notice of them.
I attend a Catholic church, and our Christmas program is very full. We have a special day of services called the Catechesis, with prayers and sung gospels, to remind us what it really means to celebrate the birth of Christ. On Christmas Day, after the mass, Christians celebrate with their families. They have to ask their bosses for the day off as it isn’t a holiday, but usually, most employers agree.
Every mass, we make sure to pray for our government and our country. We pray that the government is shown the wisdom of the Lord. We pray that we are left unharmed from negative attitudes towards Christianity. We hope that the people of this country are well informed about what Christianity is, who we are and who Christ is, to challenge their prejudices. This is exactly what we try to do on SAT-7 TÜRK. We pray that one day they will come to see the love of Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us all.