Have fun and do some charity work with expats in May

LEYLA YVONNE ERGIL
ISTANBUL
Published 30.04.2019 00:10
Turkey-based expat organization Yabangee will celebrate the traditional Hıdırellez with Let's go to Hıdırellez: Spring Street Festival.
Turkey-based expat organization Yabangee will celebrate the traditional Hıdırellez with "Let's go to Hıdırellez: Spring Street Festival."

May offers a variety of events and celebrations for expats residing in Turkey. Whether you want to volunteer or expand your horizon with some scholarly work, there is something for everyone in the city

There are a wide range of events being organized by members of the expat community this month, whether it be for entertainment, educational purposes or charity work, making for a great opportunity to get out there and mingle and meet new people.

Charity flea market

Istanbul&I is a volunteer youth community dedicated to the social impact of disadvantaged communities.

Based in Karaköy, with hundreds of members from all over the world, Istanbul&I hosts a number of educational and beneficial activities and events ranging from speaking, poetry and book clubs as well as their Spring Charity Flea Market, which will be held this weekend from May 4-5 from noon to 9 p.m. at their center in Karaköy. Donations will also be collected at their office until Friday for those wishing to contribute to a good cause.

This month also sees the start of Ramadan and Istanbul&I will be organizing their Iftar&Community program every Friday and Saturday from May 10 to June 1. The Iftar&Community program offers games and activities for children followed by a fast-breaking iftar dinner for the families and communities of Tarlabaşı, Kasımpaşa and the wider Beyoğlu area. Volunteers of all nationalities and religions are welcome to take part in this beneficial program.

Yabangee goes to Hıdırellez

Hıdırellez is an ancient spring festival that takes place in Turkey as well as in other Turkic and Balkan countries every May 5. Steeped in customs and traditions, the mainstream method of celebrating it is by listening to live improvisational "gypsy" music being played and dancing to it in the streets. Throughout Turkey, there are areas in which Hıdırellez is celebrated with fervor including Istanbul, Izmir and Edirne.

In Istanbul on Hıdırellez, the tradition is for the crowds to flock to Ahırkapı, an area known for its Romani community and skilled musicians, who tend to play a variety of brass instruments and drums. This celebration, which is easily the city's most popular street party, can get extremely crowded and chaotic for those less familiar with this unique and exciting experience. Luckily, Yabangee, which is a volunteer website and community geared toward foreigners living in Istanbul, will be attending the celebrations as a group in an event entitled "Let's go to Hıdırellez: Spring Street Festival," creating both a meeting point and using Whatsapp for communicating and to ensure no one gets lost, so foreigners and locals alike in their community can experience this festival amongst a familiar crowd.

Expat Spotlight

This Monday, May 6, Yabangee returns with the 22nd edition of their inspiring "Expat Spotlight" monthly talk series in which expats share their contributions to the city's cultural, sporting, humanitarian and business spheres. Each month's guest speakers are centered on a specific theme, with this month's being "Photography." This unique event in which attendants get to listen to personal stories and experiences, as well as participate in a resourceful dialogue, takes place at ATÖLYE in English starting at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open for all to attend.

Pop-Up Dinners Istanbul

Run by Kay, a Singaporean-Dutch former restaurateur from her home in Cihangir, Pop-Up Dinners Istanbul's themed dinner parties are extremely popular amongst the expat community and a wonderful opportunity to share a delicious gourmet food in a cozy setting with guests from all over the world. Pop-Up Dinners Istanbul's next event will focus on "Spanish Tapas" and will take place on Saturday, May 11, starting at 8:30 p.m.

Speech Bubbles' Queen tribute

Spanning back over a quarter of a century, Speech Bubbles was formed in 1992 by Tom Godfrey to put on theatrical performances in English for his language students. Since then, Speech Bubbles has blossomed into becoming an English-language performing arts school teaching people of all ages how to sing, act and dance on stage. In addition to hosting weekend classes and summer camps for kids, Speech Bubbles also puts on a musical performance every year to raise money for charities that support children and education.

A popular outlet to perform or take part in a large scale theatrical production, all participants in the productions are volunteers and many are from the expat community. On May 17 and 18, Speech Bubbles will be performing "We Will Rock You" a rock musical centered on music by the group Queen at Torun Centre in Mecidiyeköy. The Friday evening performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, the show will take place at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Trivia Night and after party

Yabangee, which is an indispensable resource for foreigners in Istanbul, serving as both a website dishing out reviews and advice as well as hosting their own event series, resumes with the 21st edition of their "Trivia Night" on Saturday, May 18 at #Bunk Terrace in Harbiye. Held on the top floor of the largest and most stylish international hostel in the city and with a stunning skyline, there will also be an after-party following the quiz to celebrate the success of this event series. The quiz begins at 8 p.m., teams are six people maximum and the questions are read aloud in English and in Turkish.

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