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Public Holidays

Public Holidays

With its rich history, numerous memorials, direct ties to the Republic of Turkey, and various religious dates from the Muslim Calendar, North Cyprus has a wide range of local anniversaries and celebrations.

Most public holidays have no impact on the private sector, and businesses remain open throughout the year. However, there is one exception: International Labor Day, also known as May Day, observed on the 1st of May annually. On this day, it is customary for employers to close their businesses and organize barbeque parties for their staff in one of the many designated open fire picnic areas across the island.

The 20th of July marks the beginning of the 1974 Turkish Peace Operation landings, carried out under the Treaty of Guarantee. Turkish soldiers intervened to put an end to the terrorist activities of the enosis driven EOKA organization and create a safe haven where Turkish and Greek Cypriots could live in peace. Each year, a remembrance event called Şafak Nobeti or Dawn Watch takes place on the beach where the initial landings occurred, near the Karaoglanoglu Memorial. Participants light torches at night and observe a moment of silence as they wait for the sunrise. Another highlight of this date is the Soloturk show, a renowned aerobatic display by the Turkish Air Force, which attracts thousands of spectators at Kyrenia Harbor and various rooftops.

Another significant date in the North Cyprus calendar is the 15th of November, which marks the declaration of Independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It was a unilateral declaration of independence by the Turkish Cypriot parliament on the 15th of November 1983. Celebrations throughout the day begin early in the morning with official military and government ceremonies in the capital city of Nicosia.

Other official annual public holidays, shared with Turkey, include the 23rd of April, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day; the 19th of May, The Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, which marks Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s landing at Samsun in 1919, considered the start of the Turkish War of Independence; the 30th of August, celebrated in commemoration of the victory in the 1922 Battle of Dumlupınar during the Turkish War of Independence; and the 29th of October, Republic Day, commemorating the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.

Prominent dates in the Islamic calendar observed in North Cyprus include Ramazan Bayram or Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month-long Ramadan fasting period and is a three-day public holiday, and Kurban Bayram or Eid al-Adha, a four-day public holiday that honors Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.

Although the dates of Eid are fixed in the Islamic calendar, they occur approximately 11 days earlier in the Gregorian calendar each successive year due to the lunar nature of the Islamic calendar and the solar nature of the Gregorian calendar. The dates for these holidays in North Cyprus are predetermined, and this year Ramazan Bayram falls on the 10th to 12th of April 2024, while Kurban Bayram falls on the 16th to 19th of June 2024.