Several hundred members of Bilkent's international community celebrate the feast of Christmas on Thursday of this week. Across the campus, Christmas parties and dinners are being organized in the homes of staff and students from North America, Europe and elsewhere. However, staff members from the Russian or Eastern Orthodox traditions, which still follow the Julian calendar of Roman times, celebrate the feast in early January.
Last Saturday evening, December 20, there was a carol sing evening at Uptown, the faculty club bistro on Main Campus, lead by Erin Maloney of the School of Applied Languages. This was the tenth successive year in which Bilkent staff have gathered to celebrate Christmas.
Among Christians, Christmas traditionally marks the birth of Jesus Christ, believed to have taken place around the year 3 B.C.E. However, the day is also widely celebrated by millions simply as a commercial and seasonal holiday and a time for family reunion. In some countries, notably Scotland, Christmas is less important than the New Year or "Hogmanay."
Children of Bilkent families hoping for a "white," (i.e. snowy) Christmas this year could just find that their wish is granted. Temperatures in Ankara are currently dropping to below zero at night and weather forecasters say there is a chance of snow on each of the first three days of the week.
Bilkent News would like to offer its best wishes to everyone on campus celebrating Christmas this week.