10-18 December 2018
Turkey’s famous whirling dervishes are the stuff of legends and famous the world over. Mevlâna annual ceremony attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually to the Anatolian city of Konya (an hour by plane from Istanbul), to commemorate the death of 13th-century Sufi poet, Mevlâna Celaleddin-i Rumi, one of the world’s great mystic philosophers. His work in poetry and religious writings are amongst the most cherished in Islam and beyond. Affectionately known as “Rumi” in the west, he is a best-selling poet in the US with legions of loyal fans. Throughout this festival, whirling dervishes, dressed in white robes with voluminous skirts, dance as if they are in trance, under the observance of a seyh (master). Their performances can best be described as mesmerising and mystifying – the ecstatic spinning accompanied by orchestral music and chanting making for a truly spellbinding spectacle. The festival’s highlight is the last night, when the entranced dervishes spin to commemorate Mevlâna’s wedding night.