Friday, May 02, 2014

The Mevleviye Whirling Derviches - TURKEY - UNESCO ICH #100

Located right in the center of old Istanbul, at a 500 years old historical turkish bath, the Hodjapasha Dance Theater and Culture Center is the reference in cultural and ethnographic presentations. I went there 2 times, once for seeing a traditional dances (including male belly-dance for my surprise and my wife delight!) and the second time, not for a show, but for a religious ceremony , the Mevleviye Whirling Derviches. It was really impressive, all the people in a circle in absolute silence (no clapping, no photos , no noise) and in the middle five dancers rotating in a trance for more than a hour - unforgettable. 2 days later, in the bazaar I found this Vintage postcard (photo made in 1895) with Whirling Derviches. This postcard took 15 days to arrive!

The Mevleviye Whirling Derviches - TURKEY - UNESCO ICH #100
The Mevleviye is an ascetic Sufi order founded in 1273 in Konya, from where it gradually spread throughout the Ottoman Empire. Today, the Mevleviye can be found in many Turkish communities throughout the world, but the most active and famous centres of the order’s activity are in Konya and Istanbul. The Mevleviye are renowned for their whirling dances. Following a recommended fast of several hours, the whirlers begin to rotate on their left feet in short twists, using the right foot to drive their bodies around the left foot. The body of the whirler is meant to be supple, with eyes open but unfocused so that images become blurred and flowing.

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