Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Sparkle Season

Cities around the world
prepare to celebrate the holidays...

With Christmas only less than one month ahead, it's coming the time of magics and surprises for everyone;) An exhausting time as well! Everybody prepares by buying/making presents for the loved ones and by preparing special meals. Being with a lot of family and eating a lot of delicious food takes energy:)

Perhaps St Nick's reputation for bearing gifts comes from an old Turkish legend. In the fourth century, the Turks told of his saving three impoverished girls from being sold into slavery. According to the legend, on three consecutive nights he left each girl a sack of gold.

The jolly, fatherly figure of Father Christmas with his white beard and pink cheeks, has been eagerly awaited not only by children but also by adults at Christmas for centuries;) Did you know this bringer of gifts and protector of the poor and needy actually lived in the South of Turkey? In fact, Saint Nicholas, alias Father Christmas, alias Santa Claus (Turkish: Noel Baba) was a real person who lived near Antalya in the warm climate of southern Turkey rather than in the icy Arctic desert. Born at Patara near Kalkan, he spent most of his life at Myra, 140 kilometers southwest of Antalya.

Paris and New York City already dressed beautifully as seen in the photos! As far as Istanbul, the preparations are already underway. The City becomes brighter with colorful lights and decorations as well as the homes. Lights are strung in zig-zags across the streets. I'm sure that store owners will even build new store fronts with elaborate Christmas scenes. It looks like main shopping malls in the City host a competition between stores for the best decorations:) Definitely I love those sparkling magical days upon us!

Although different countries and backgrounds have different habits, one thing is the same all over the world: A wish to spend this time with all our family and friends. It is so special time of the year where everybody forgets about fights and general differences between each other. Rivals become friends again. Families travel long distances to come together.

Source: Photos of world cities Istanbul, New York City and Paris, all taken from world's leading papers.


  1. For us, in The Netherlands, there is a difference between Saint Nicolas or Sint Nicolaas or Sinterklaas and father Chistmas.
    We celebrate the feast of Sinterklaas on the fifth of December. After that we can make preparations for Christmas.
    Yesterday evening the larger stores had to change everything from SInt Nicolaas into Christmas.

  2. Another great post Nihal. Had heard about Noel Baba and loved to read the story and the legend. Cities are getting amazingly beautiful in the season. Unfortunately, it seems that the Lisbon city hall is somehow in financial trouble, so they're cutting a bit on X-mas lights.
    Anyhow, it looks nicer than in November...
    Have a great time! Oh, and Turkey will meet Portugal at the Euro 2008...

  3. @ Annelies: Tks for your kind comment as always:) Yeap, the feast of Sinterklaas, or say St Nicholas is an annual event uniquely for Dutch and Flemish. How nice to see that the eve of his feast day on dec 5th is celebrated esp in your country NL by all young to old, christian and non-christian, w/out any religious matter. Hope you had a joyful Sinterklaas, love:)

    @ Gil: Merci for your comment:) Your Turkish spelling seems enough good, Noel Baba;) BTW, who's your Turkish teacher, LOL:)) W/regards the X-mas city lights, your Lisbon City Hall just doing well! As for the planet, energy saving and reduce electricity are essential for a more green world you know, and I'm very much appreciative about your Hall procedure! Yeap, Turkey's rendez-vous vs Portugal for Euro2008 next summer, and I'm definitely keeping my fingers and toes crossed for the match;) Can you make any guess for the result -it's too early but? Lets hope for an enjoyable match, Woooohoooo!!!