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December 10, 2018 - December 18, 2018
The Mevlana festival is held over ten days in December, with its culmination on the 17th, the anniversary of Rumi’s death in the city of Konya. Sufis call this ‘Sabe Arus’, meaning “nuptial night”, the night of Rumi’s union with God. The festival is an authentic, indigenous gathering where spectators are honoured to witness magical, trance-like and elegant dance performances. Sufis gather, dressed traditionally in a costume of five parts; a robe with a weighted skirt, undergarments, a jacket, a belt and the traditional tall hat. The Sufis dance by spinning themselves around with their arms in the air, gradually increasing speed as they become transcended, with the intention of inviting the love of God to travel through their bodies from heaven down to earth. They are known as the Whirling Dervishes and their ritual dance is called ‘Sama’.
The Whirling Dervishes
The Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi Order are the best-known practitioners of ‘Sama’, though other forms can be found in the Alevi community of Turkey and the closely related Bektaşi Order. ‘Sama’ is a means of meditating on God through focusing on melodies and dancing. It represents the mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to perfection. He would then return from his spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and be of service to the whole of creation.
Sama’ incorporates the singing of hymns called ‘qawl’ and ‘nayt’, but also sometimes includes the playing of instruments; most commonly the tambourine, bells and flute. On occasions, you may also hear the recitation of poetry, which is said to aid spiritual contemplation. While Sufism sits within the limits of Islamic law, verses from the Qur’an are never used for this purpose as they are never to be set to meditation, not ornamented or improvised in any way, so that they remain sacred texts. This Sufi ceremony is performed as ‘dhikr’, the short prayers that followers of Islam repeat while counting the beads of a ‘tesbih’.
Source from goremejasminehouse
Photo courtesy of Sacred Bridge Foundation