Konya, TUrKey WHIRLING DERVISHES FESTIVAL
Synonymous with the practice of whirling as a form of worship to God, this weeklong festival is celebrated by Mevlevi Order believers (Whirling Dervishes) founded by Celaleddin Rumi (a Sufi mystic and poet). In whirling rituals (sema),
donning symbolic garb chant to the accompaniment of reed pipes as they twirl with their right hand pointed upwards towards God and their left pointing down to the earth — all believed to induce a state of spiritual ecstasy. Seb-i Arus is held on the final night of the festival to commemorate the death of Rumi in mid-December of 1273, believed to mark his union with God. Mevlana Museum, where the festival is held, is also where the mausoleum housing Rumi’s tomb and the dervish lodge he lived in. Believers gather at dargahs (Sufi shrines) to chant and sing after observing sema. Sema performances also take place regularly in other parts of Turkey like Ankara, Istanbul and Cappadocia.