By Sabri Kesen
Known for riding his sleigh though the air to deliver toys to children at this time of year, Santa Claus surprised people while parasailing above a beach in sunny Aegean Turkey on Monday.
As part of the Marmaris New Year Fest in southwestern Mugla province, Santa Claus glided through the air with an open parachute while being towed by a motor boat for 30 minutes in the Marmaris district.
After the show, Santa Claus distributed fairy tale books to children.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Marmaris Mayor Ali Acar said that the festival aims to bring different cultures together and spread peace messages for the New Year’s Eve.
The festival was an opportunity for Central Asia's cultural symbol Ayaz Ata and Santa Claus -- the symbol name in Western cultures -- to meet, Acar said.
Ayaz Ata is a fictional tale character known as winter god. In some Turkic cultures, the character plays a role similar to Santa Claus.
The mayor also said that 15 planes -- carrying tourist from the U.K. to Turkey -- will land on Mugla’s Dalaman Airport during the festival.
The festival which will be held between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31 aims to strengthen cultural integration and boost tourism in the region.