By Sabri Kesen</p> <p>MUGLA, Turkey (AA) - 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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>After the show, Santa Claus distributed fairy tale books to children.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.