What Do Turkish People Eat for Christmas?

Turkish people who celebrate Christmas eat a variety of traditional Turkish foods, including turkey, carrots, pomegranates and beans. For dessert they may eat spiced pumpkin or candied quince.

Turkey is a Muslim country, so Christmas is traditionally not widely celebrated. However, Christmas celebrations have grown in popularity as Turkey has gained a large immigrant population and has become involved in international business. It also is home to a small Turkish Christian minority.

Traditional Turkish foods are generally savory and spicy. Their turkey stuffing is different and may include ingredients such as rice, chestnuts, pine nuts and currants. Artichokes and cooked vegetables are a good appetizer or side dish. Most cooked vegetable dishes use olive oil for flavor and tenderness. They also have a dish similar to mashed potatoes called potato puree. Sweet potatoes, which are often a staple of U.S. Christmas dinners, are not common in Turkey.

Many restaurants and hotels that offer Christmas dinners cater specifically to Western visitors, so they strive to make their dinners as similar to Western Christmas traditions as possible. They may even import traditional Christmas cookies and crackers from other countries. Pork products, such as ham or pork sausages, can also be obtained at specialty stores, although it is not a common menu item due to Muslim dietary restrictions. However, restaurants may make an exception and serve it for Christmas.