Surrendering One’s Self to God at the Whirling Dervishes Festival
Mevlana Festival 2012 – Whirling Dervishes Festival 2012
When it happens: December 2012
Where it happens: Konya, Turkey
Whirling Dervishes Festival is best known in by the practices of the Mevlevi order in turkey. It is part of the formal ceremony of Sama. Sama is not the only ceremony where the whirling dance is performed. This is done to reach a religious ecstasy. Mevlevi comes from Rumi who is Persian poet. He, himself, is a Dervish, someone who is treading the path of Sufi Muslim ascetic. Dervishes are known for their austerity and poverty. This practice was not intended to provide entertainment. However, it has become a famous tourist attraction in Turkey due to the unique dance performances of the locals.
Whirling Dervishes Festival is celebrated from the 10th day of December to the 17th. It is held in the Sports stadium of Konya, Turkey. You will surely be mesmerized as the dervishes whirl in the festival as they honour Celaleddin Rumi, a Sufi poet considered as a saint in the Islamic world. His religious writings and poetry are among the most favoured and respected arts in Islam. Even the famous Madonna is a bold fan of him. He is said to be one of the best selling poets in the United States. In addition, he believed that people can be united with God in the form of dance. After his death, his followers formed the whirling dervishes with dance as their foremost form of worship.
At the present time, you have the chance to witness this Sama as it draws more than a million people to the city of Konya for the Whirling Dervishes Festival to commemorate the death of Rumi on the 17th day of December. The date is now known as Rumi’s wedding night with Allah.
Throughout the festival, you can witness the dervishes dance their well-known whirl. However, the most special night is on the 17th. The dance of the dervishes is pure and smooth. In contrast with other dervish orders, their dance is more elegant and trancelike. You can see them dress in long white robes and full skirts that represent their veils. These black veils symbolize their tombs and their pointed felt hats as their tombstones.
The ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes Festival starts with the hafiz intoning a prayer for Rumi and a Quran verse. You will hear the kettledrum booms followed by the sound of the reed flute. Then, the master will bow and guide the dervishes in a loop around the hall. After three rounds, they will drop their black cloaks as a sign of deliverance from worldly attachments.
One by one, you can see their arms folded on their breasts as they spin in the floor and renounce their earthly life. They also lift their right arms to receive blessings from heaven. They form a constellation as their whirl, and then the master walks among them to perform the ritual. This is repeated again and again.