After an unintended break of two years due to the global health situation last weekend Adana’s world-famous Orange Blossom Carnival was back on the streets.

As a matter of fact, it had been its 10th edition as even during the pandemic a virtual version was staged. Now of course everything in Adana and Türkiyeis back to normal, or shall we rather say Adana rings in the new normal which is luckily exactly as the old normal. Let me explain.

Think hundreds of thousands of people watching the parade which lets other similar events pale by comparison. The 2013 festival was Türkiye’s first ever street carnival and is most definitely its biggest until this very day. Yet staying in the picture of big, it is one of Europe’s biggest carnival parades, too, and when counting numbers and figures that includes well-known carnival hotspots such as Germany’s Mainz or London’s Notting Hill Gate.

This year’s parade featured bands and music and dance, participants in colourful and often hand-made costumes, local non-governmental organisations, schools, associations, bicycle clubs to name only a few! Citizens started preparing for the 10th edition under the expert guidance of Ali Haydar Bozkurtmany months ahead of time, the welcoming and always smiling host who transformed the way Türkiye approaches large scale public events and himself a true promoter and legend of Adana’s civil society dialogue.

I remember meeting him for the first time almost a decade ago when Ali Bey told me that he is unsure about next year’s event as it was difficult to find sponsors for something so extraordinary. Not anymore – big national names such as Toyota, smaller but equally successful local brands such as Slow Food Adana have become part-and-parcel of the carnival. Add a happy and pro-active city council and administration and you have the recipe for what constitutes the unique Adana festival mix.

But it would not be Adana were it only for one day of festivities. The 2022 program started on 23 March and lasted well into the evening of 27 March Sunday. Besides, visitors from all over Türkiye and many foreign countries came to town; let us mention Pakistan and Japan to make ‘a global participation’ – case in point. Not only did they become members of the ever-growing international guest list but demonstrated their amazing musical skills during the official opening gala concert as well.

Once there, visitors marvelled at shops displaying everything orange in colour; restaurants offered Orange-themed dishes; chefs from all over town rolled out the red carpet to welcome curious eaters trying to find out what can be achieved by using what others might call ‘nothing but a simple fruit, an orange.’

Adana is of course not only famous for its agricultural produce but Adana Kebap, too. And rest assured here it is cooked to perfection – Adana Kebap consists of delicious mincedmeat, red onions with spices and some green stuff such as parsley or other suitable ‘green’ side dishes. Add a separate bowl of equally spicy Ezme Salad, place the kebap on tasty lavash bread and off you go. The traditional recipe is even material for a handbook detailing how to make the right dish as in far too many places rice or ketchup or what have you are delivered to your table (Adab-I KebapKitabi, courtesy 5 OcakKebap Restaurant, probably the home of kebap in the city of kebap…). There is a bit of confusion with regards to the correct spelling though – a single kebap is written with a p, the plural in Turkish with a middle ‘b’, ‘Kebabin’.

Thank you for hosting your friendly columnist on this occasion, see you all next spring.

I have attached the photos from the event. ; photo credits Eray Kinay

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