With such a long-standing history and memorials, direct relations to the Republic of Turkey as well as numerus religious dates from the Muslim Calendar, local anniversaries and celebrations are not far-fetched.
Most public holidays do not affect the private sector whatsoever and most remain open throughout the year, except for one notable date, International Labour Day, also referred to as May Day on 01 May of each year. On this date, it is traditional for all employers to shut shop and hold a barbeque party for their staff in one of the numerous open fire picnic dedicated areas spread across the island.
20 July marks the beginning date of the 1974 Turkish Peace Operation landings under the Treaty of Guarantee, in which soldiers from Turkey terminated the terrorist activities of the enosis fuelled EOKA organisation and created a safe haven for both Turkish and Greek Cypriots to live in peace to this day. Each year a remembrance event, Şafak Nobeti or Dawn Watch is held on the beach where the first landings were made, next to the Karaoglanoglu Memorial, where commemorators light their torches from night and wait in silence for the sun to rise. Another highlight of this date is the Soloturk show, the famed Turkish Air Force aerobatic team, whereby thousands congregate to watch at Kyrenia Harbour or from various rooftops.
Another significant date in the NCY calendar is 15 November, the date of the declaration of Independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a unilateral declaration of independence from the Republic of Cyprus by the Turkish Cypriot parliament on 15 November 1983. Celebrations throughout the day commence early in the morning with official military and government held proceedings in the capital Nicosia.
01 August marks the anniversary of the founding of the TMT, the Turkish Resistance Organisation, founded in 1958 to face and counter the Greek Cypriot EOKA’s aim and struggle for partition of the island between Greece and Turkey.
Other official annual public holiday dates, also shared with Turkey include 23 April National Sovereignty and Children’s Day; 19 May The Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, commemorates Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s landing at Samsun on this date in 1919, regarded as the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence; 30 August is celebrated in commemoration of the victory in the 1922 Battle of Dumlupınar in the Turkish War of Independence; 29 October Republic Day, commemorating the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.
Prominent dates in the Islamic calendar are Ramazan Bayram or Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan, a three day public holiday, and Kurban Bayram or Eid al-Adha, a four day public holiday which honours the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.
Although the dates of Eid are always the same in the Islamic calendar, the date in the Gregorian calendar falls approximately 11 days earlier each successive year, since the Islamic calendar is lunar and the latter is solar. The dates for these holidays in North Cyprus are determined in advance and this year Ramazan Bayram falls 24 – 26 May 2020 and Kurban Bayram 31 July – 03 August 2020.
North Cyprus hosts several festivities all through the year and it is worth viewing the updated listings on our Events page for further information.