Turkey has been known for its festivities. As a country with such a rich history, and a mix of both ancients and modern architectures and deigns, you can tell that it has a lot of stories to tell, and thereby a lot of occasions to celebrate. The country celebrates in the most graceful of ways. One of its most traditional festivals, Mevlana, is proof of that.
The Mevlana festival is one of the oldest in the country, it celebrates the late Muslim poet, Jalal Al Din Mohammad Rumi. Commonly known as just Rumi, also referred to as Mevlana, which translates to “Our Guide”. Now you know where the festival gets its name from. Among the many amazing things about this festival, is the fact that it has been held since the 13th century. To be exact, it has been held since the year of 1273 – the year Rumi passed away. The night Rumi passed away is referred to as his “Wedding night with God”, which was on December 17th, 1273. The festival started as a 10-days festival for the commemoration of Rumi. Nowadays, it is usually held for a week during the month of December, every year. The 17th of December now usually marks the last day of the festival, and is known to be the best of the entire week.
The festival is mainly held in the stadium in Konya. That was where Rumi stayed in Turkey, when he went there with his father after leaving Iran (Persia at the time). Rumi also became a scholar there, and he taught basic beautiful concepts such as love, acceptance, and lenience, and that is why he gained a huge number of followers.
Why Spinning Dervishes?
The image of men in robes and hats might not seem all that appealing to you, we understand. However, watching them spin in circles in white robes is guaranteed to leave an effect on you in a way that you
would have never expected possible. The concept comes from Rumi’s practices and teachings that he successfully passed on. He believed in the revolution of all things, as proved by science, and as it is the most fundamental state of the existence of all things. From the revolution of the blood that keeps us alive, to our own revolution with the earth. Everything revolves, and the idea is that watching people revolve in the dervishes, will bring people closer to an awareness of the divine, as they watch.
Things to Keep in Mind
You are advised to book your tickets in advance; they usually sell out quickly, as the festival attracts both tourists and locals. If you are not lucky enough to find available tickets, you will find alternatives, as other places around the country also host dances during the festival.
However, if you do stay in Konya, you should remember that the city is a conservative one, thereby you need to dress accordingly – especially women. Short dresses, shorts and revealing clothes should not be worn, and you might think about putting on a headscarf.
All in all, the experience will be divine, and the past 750 years during which it has been carried on is proof of that. It also comes as no surprise that UNESCO introduced the Mevlana ceremony into the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, as one of the Masterpieces.