Valentine´s Day

How do Turks celebrate Valentine´s Day this February 14th?

If we have a relationship with a Turkish man or a woman, what does our partner expect from this day? How to congratulate? What gift to choose for Valentine’s Day? Here we give some clues.

Although the celebration on February 14th of Valentine’s Day was not well known in Turkey until not many years ago, the truth is that in this new century it has been gaining popularity especially in the big cities of the country, as can be checked by the abundant advertisements with which businesses encourage customers to spend their money to celebrate this date.

But what does February 14th really mean for the Turks? If we have a relationship with a Turkish man or a woman, what does our partner expect from this day? For starters, Valentine’s Day is not known as such in Turkey, a Muslim-majority country, but it is normal to refer to it as Sevgililer Günü or “Lovers’ Day”.

Therefore, to congratulate someone on this day, as happens with other holidays, it is normal to add “kutlu olsun” to the name of the day in Turkish, so we would have a Sevgililer Günü kutlu olsun! (Have a happy Lovers’ Day) to congratulate our beloved.

Regarding the way in which this day is lived in Turkey, a recent survey published in Turkish media indicated that although this celebration has been implemented in recent years in the country, only 30% of respondents said they thought of celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Other results yielded data such as 50% of Turks believe in true love, while 36% of men and 33% of women said they believe in love at first sight. However, in Turkey the custom of knowing your partner through relatives continues to predominate, and in fact half of those consulted said they had met their partner after someone in the family introduced it.

What gift to choose for Valentine?

Another survey carried out by a well-known credit card firm in 17 countries in Europe, including Turkey, also revealed interesting information that can be helpful when choosing a gift for our Turkish spouse or “lover”; according to the poll, most Turkish women expect the man to give them a gift. 25% of gifts for February 14th are actually purchased the day before.

However, there are gifts that are not welcome: the study emphasizes that the worst gift that can be given to a Turkish woman for Valentine’s Day is money, something that is considered in fact offensive and can lead to an argument.

Another survey carried out in this case between married or engaged couples, as well as between those who maintain a lasting relationship, also points out that it is the men who have engaged or maintain a serious relationship who choose the most expensive gifts for Valentine´s Day, and also those who care more about the presentation to celebrate this day.

This type of men, according to the survey, dedicate a minimum of 200 Turkish lira to celebrate on February 14th, and they are also the ones that give more importance to this day. On the contrary, the men who have started a new relationship are those who spend less on their Valentine’s gifts – at most 100 liras – although they do claim to worry a lot about the presentation, and are willing to spend more – up to 300 lira – on a romantic dinner.

Women give less … but make better gifts

And what about women? Well, unlike men, where half claim to buy a gift for Valentine’s Day, only 20% of Turkish women acknowledge buying a gift for their partner for this day.

However, the data indicate that women who buy a gift are willing to pay something more for Valentine’s Day compared to men, being able to spend between 100 and 300 lira in a present for February 14th; 6 out of 10 women said they bought a gift of between 100 and 200 lira for their partner, an expense that increases in new relationships and dating, but that is reduced in older relationships.