Christmas in Turkey

Mural - Jesus' Baptism

Image via Wikipedia

In Constantinople, the baptism of Christ is celebrated at Christmas. The head of the church throws a wooden cross out into the Bosporus and three boys swim out after it. The boy who gets the cross is blessed by the priest and given a present. He takes the cross from door to door and receives many gifts which the people give him in gratitude for being permitted to see this sacred object. Most of the people of Turkey are Mohammedans and, of course, do not celebrate Christmas at all. But among the Chris­tian Turks the feast lasts for three days as a rule. There is much visiting and entertaining during that time. The Turks are famous coffee drinkers and doubly so in Christmas week. They are exceptionally hospitable and every­one who comes to the house is given coffee, sweetmeats, and fruit, and sometimes meat and sour milk, of which they are very fond.

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