Asian Geographic - - WEST ASIA -


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.

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