May 7, 2009

A Slew of Santas Descending
on Demre in December

ANTALYA - Demre will welcome 15,000 people dressed as Santa Claus in December with a project titled "Santa Back to His Homeland," a local travel agency has said.

According to the project created by Recep Yavuz, the general manager of Öger Tour, 15,000 people will be walking in the Antalya district on Dec. 6, the assumed birth date of Santa Claus.

Demre is famous for its St. Nicholas Church, named after the saint who is believed to be Santa Claus.

"St. Nicholas spread the feeling of helping people, and the tradition of giving and taking presents," said Yavuz. "He lived for 75 years in Demre and became a symbol of being good to people."

Yavuz added that similar projects were held abroad. In 2005, there was a similar parade in Hungary, where 4,300 people participated, while the following year it was held in Las Vegas with 8,000 people. A total of 12,000 people dressed as Santa Claus walked in Ireland in 2007, and 14,000 were present in a similar parade in Portugal last year.

If the project comes to life, a predicted 15,000 people will walk for one and a half kilometers in Demre in next December.

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