Here, you can find information about the National & Religious celebrations that have official Public Holidays in Istanbul and Turkey during 2019 and 2020, including where they came from and how they are celebrated.
Public Services, Banks, Post Offices, many of the Museums and all Government Agencies are closed during the public holidays in Turkey. Besides, many of the shops, attractions, tourist places and businesses stay open during the public holidays in Turkey.
You should check opening times before visiting on these days, as some only open for reduced hours and others might not open at all. Public transport can also be affected, with reduced services.
Istanbul’s Public Holidays Calendar for 2019 & 2020
Tuesday, 1 January 2019 / Wednesday, 1 January 2020
New Year’s Day (National holiday)
Features fireworks on the Bosphorus, variety of street celebrations. Taksim, Istiklal Street, Nisantasi, Besiktas, Bakirkoy and Kadikoy are the popular districts and neighborhoods to spend a lively partying night.
Tuesday, 23 April 2019 / Thursday, 23 April 2020
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (National holiday)
Dedicated to the children with the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of Turkish Republic. The day is also for the memory of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s first opening in 23rd of April, 1920. Features state ceremonies and events for children. It is a tradition that children take seats in the Turkish Parliament and symbolically govern for this day. Locals hang Turkish flags outside their windows.
Wednesday, 1 May 2019 / Friday, 1 May 2020
Labor and Solidarity Day (National holiday)
Dedicated to the laborers and union workers. Due to the tragic events between cops and demonstrators during the May 1st demonstration in 1977, the day has a special meaning for the laborers and every year it happen a struggle in between cops and demonstrators. We recommend you stay away from the major districts such as Taksim (especially), Besiktas and Kadikoy. You may find yourself inside a trouble with the demonstrations.
Sunday, 19 May 2019 / Tuesday, 19 May 2020
Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth & Sports Day (National holiday)
Dedicated to the youth with the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The day is also for the memory of Ataturk’s giving the start for the War of Independence from Samsun 19th of May, 1919. Features state ceremonies and sports events. Locals hang Turkish flags outside their windows.
Monday, 3 June 2019 / Saturday, 23 May 2020
Ramadan Feast’s Eve (Religious Holiday – half day)
Tuesday, 4 to Thursday, 6 June 2019 / Sunday, 24 to Tuesday, 26 May 2020
Ramadan Feast (Religious Holiday – goes for 3 days)
Also known as “Sugar Feast”, a three days celebration for the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It is a tradition for locals to buy new clothes and visit their families or relatives abroad, as well as family grave visits. Many locals give away sweets and desserts during the holidays. See our notes below, pros and cons for the Istanbul’s situation during religious holidays.
Monday, 15 July 2019 / Wednesday, 15 July 2020
Democracy & National Solidarity Day (National Holiday)
Features celebrations for the failed coup attempt in 15th of July, 2016.
Saturday, 10 August 2019 / Thursday, 30 July 2020
Sacrifice Feast’s Eve (Religious Holiday – half day)
Sunday, 11 to Wednesday, 14 August 2019 / Friday, 31 July to Monday, 3 August 2020
Sacrifice Feast (Religious Holiday – goes for 4 days)
Sacrifice Feast commemorates the story of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), who sacrificed a ram that came from the sky just after he showed his willingness for sacrificing his son in obedience to God and rewarded by God, to sacrifice a ram, instead of his son. Muslims It is a tradition for locals to buy new clothes and visit their families or relatives abroad, as well as family grave visits like they do in the feast of Ramadan.
As for the tradition of the sacrifice, the family men members go to a mosque for a private morning prayer. And then, they mostly sacrifice a sheep or ram to carry out the Sacrifice ritual. Families share the two-thirds of the animal’s meat with the very poor people around, and leave one-third to themselves. See our notes below, pros and cons for the Istanbul’s situation during religious holidays.
Friday, 30 August 2019 / Sunday, 30 August 2020
Victory Day (National Holiday)
Victory Day commemorates the Turkish victory over the Greek and allied forces in the final Battle of Dumlupinar (26-30 August 1922) ending with the overall outcome of the War of Independence (1919-1923). Feature military parades and ceremonies. Locals hang Turkish flags outside their windows.
Sunday, 6 October 2019 / Tuesday, 6 October 2020
Liberation Day of Istanbul (Holiday for Istanbul only)
Commemorate the liberation of Istanbul by Turkish armed forces in 06th of October 1923, during the War of Independence (1919-1923).
Monday, 28 October 2019 / Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Republic Day’s Eve (National Holiday – half day)
Tuesday, 29 October 2019 / Thursday, 29 October 2020
Republic Day (National Holiday)
Republic Day commemorates the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 29th of October 1923, by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (became the 1st president of the new state), after the Turkish victory over allied forces during the War of Independence (1919-1923). Afterwards, the Turkish parliament proclaimed the new Turkish state as a Republic by replacing the constitution of the Ottoman Empire. Feature variety of lively celebrations, fireworks, traditional performances and events. Locals hang Turkish flags outside their windows.