Christmas comes early for women in Turkey’s western Burdur province
The thrill of the Christmas celebration has already grasped locals in Turkey’s western Burdur province but in a different way. Some 300 women have started working hard to prepare at least 650,000 Christmas wreaths which will be exported to countries such as Britain, Germany, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and probably the United States until December.
“So far, we have sent 50 trucks, every each carrying 9,000 Christmas wreaths. Nearly 650,000 Christmas wreaths are exported in every season, and it corresponds to an export volume of 1.5 million euros,” exporter Adnan Aksoy told daily Hürriyet.
The business of producing Christmas decorations in Turkey started in the neighboring Mediterranean province of Antalya 20 years ago, according to Aksoy.
Local women in the district of Bucak earn 100 to 150 liras ($17.5 to $26) in a working day during which they usually make around 30 wreaths.
“There are some women making 50 to 60 wreaths a day. The process takes place in cooperation with the forest directorate,” said Aksoy, adding that men in the women’s families collect the materials for the wreaths in the nearby forests.
“This year, we have received demands from the United States for the first time. We also sent samples to the Maldives and the Seychelles. We have realized exports to Japan for the first time,” he added.
Every one of wreaths includes parts from 15 plants such as cranberry, scarlet firethorn, rosehip, eucalyptus, cornelian cherry, hawthorn, Greek strawberry tree, Persian lilac, date palm, Mediterranean smilax, ivy and ornamental pepper.
Forest waste such as pinewood waste, pinecones and cypress branches are also used to make the wreaths.
Production takes four months
In total, Turkey expects at least $10 million in revenue from Christmas wreath exports.
Generally, local firms start to collect orders in August, and the production of these decorative objects by housewives continues until the first week of December.
Production of these ornaments has become an important industry in Antalya since the 1990s. The wreaths produced in the Mediterranean province are exported to more than 20 countries, including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Slovenia, Japan, Canada and China.
In Turkey, which is a Muslim majority country, Christmas is marked by small Christian minority communities, including Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians.
However, big celebrations take place especially in the big cities to mark the New Year.
The country also is home to the St. Nicholas Church, also known as the church of Santa Claus.
St. Nicholas is believed to have lived and died in the area of Demre in Antalya in the fourth century. The church containing his tomb was built some two centuries later.