Turkey: Northwestern province celebrates Halloween-like festival Koleda
The locals of the Babaeski district of the northwestern province of Kırklareli celebrated the Halloween-like horror festival of Koleda on late Jan. 8, wearing white dresses and make up.
Koleda is a Balkan festival that is thousands of years old. It is celebrated in the northwestern province that is in the Thrace region.
People were dressed in white and spooky clothes, knocking at the windows of the houses of their friends and neighbors to scare them.
As part of the events, municipality officials broadcast horror movie sound effects from loudspeakers located on the main streets of the district.
“We have been continuing this tradition for years,” Ersan Çölgeçen, the head of the district’s Büyükmandıra neighborhood, told Demirören News Agency on Jan. 9.
Horror festivals are organized in the Thrace region on the coldest night of the year under different names. Another spooky festival, Bocuk, was supposed to be held on Jan. 15 in the Keşan district of the Edirne province, however, officials had to postpone it due to the pandemic.
“We celebrate Koleda on the coldest day in our area, which was Jan. 8 this year,” Çölgeçen said.
“This is a very important night for us. A tradition that has lasted for years,” Murat Demir, a festival reveler, said.
According to the tradition, people gather to eat pumpkin with syrup and walnuts at the beginning of the night. “Volunteer boogeymen” watch people and detect those who do not eat the pumpkin. After the crowd disbands, “boogeymen” in white dresses with eerie make-up knock on those people’s windows at midnight.
“We enjoyed it a lot. However, we could not celebrate Koleda successively in the previous years due to the pandemic,” Ahmet Çavdar, a local who joined the night with his family, said.