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Come, come again, whoever you are, come!
Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come!
Come even if you broke your penitence a hundred times,
Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are.

The Whirling Dervishes Festival is one of the world’s most intriguing sights, a mesmerising spectacle of dizzy twirling. The ritual whirling is an act of love and a performance of faith for the Sufi arm of Islam.

Whirling DerwishThe dervishes are a kind of monk of the Mevlevi Order, (see for more info) named after their founder Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi, the great 13th century Sufic saint and poet, from Konya, Turkey who made this whirling dance famous. Mevlana taught tolerance, positive thinking, and forgiveness, and as a way of connecting with God, he would whirl through the city streets. He encapsulated his religious philosophy in one of his poems, the philosophy which gave fame to the Sufi branch of Islam and brought about the Mevlevi order of whirling dervishes.

Every December on the anniversary of Mevlana’s death thousands of pilgrims flood to Konya to witness the whirling at his Mausoleum. The ceremony known as Sema, takes place in the evening through an intricate tradition of mystical dances. The dancers are accompanied by the “Ney” (one of Mevlana’s longer poems) and a reed pipe which is symbolic of the mythological trumpet that will be blown on the Day of Judgement. With downcast eyes, the dancers spin faster, their long white skirts spinning open like umbrellas. Their leader represents the sun and the spinning dancers the orbits of the stars and moon. There are four dances symbolising the four seasons, the four elements and the four ages of man.

(via Somewhere in the world today)