Turkey commemorates 13th century poet Mevlana Rumi
Various events held in central Konya province to Sheb-i Arus, or wedding night
NEWS SERVICE,  AA  Wednesday 10:25, 18 December 2019
746th death anniversary of Mevlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi in Konya

746th death anniversary of Mevlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi in Konya

Turkey commemorated the death of Sufi poet Mevlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi, a 13th century Sufi mystic, poet and Islamic scholar, for the 746th time this year.

Thousands of visitors came to central Anatolian province of Konya, where Rumi -- also known as Mevlana -- was buried, to honor his passing.

Konya held various commemorative events to mark Rumi’s union with God, which is called Sheb-i Arus, or the wedding night.

Centered around the theme the Time of Fidelity, this year's events took place on Dec. 7-17.

The 10-day commemoration covered over 1,300 programs including international symposiums, exhibitions, workshops, auditions, meetings, and a Mevlana movie screening, alongside Masnavi poet lectures in Turkish and English.

In Turkey, Rumi is fondly remembered by his followers as Mevlana -- which means scholar.

Upon his death in 1273, Rumi’s followers founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for the Sufi dance known as the Sema ceremony.

The commemoration ended with the Sema ceremony, also known as Mevlevi Ayin-i Sherif.

An indispensable part of Mevlevi Order, Sema is a whirling act accompanied by music and characterized by certain rules.

The ritual begins with Nat-i Sherif, a music in praise of Prophet Mohammad. It is followed by the entrance of the semazens, whirling dervishes performing the dance, with their arms across their chests to the accompaniment of music, usually the reed.

As the semazens begin the whirling ritual, they take off the waistcoat as an indication for stepping into purification, deserting the ego aside.

As a ritual full of symbols, everything from acts to clothes bears a meaning in Sema.

The Semahane (Ritual Quarters) has a round floor to represent the universe, and the post on which the Sheikh -- the leader of the ritual -- is red as a symbol for the sunset representing the time of the day Rumi united with God.

The post, a beginner of Mevlevi Order sits on, is black. In the beginner's journey of enlightenment, the new initiate comes to earn a white post.

Dressed in a symbolic costume of white robes and a conical hat called a "sikke", the semazens open both arms to the sides and they whirl in a counter-clockwise direction as if embracing the entire universe.

The right hand with an open palm extended upwards indicates reception from God, passage through the heart’s path. The left hand with the palm extended downwards indicates fair distribution among fellow men. At this point, there is also emphasis on the dervish’s dissolving into divine existence.

Finalized with greetings of peace by semazens, the sema usually ends with a recitation of the Holy Quran.

Described as one of the most exquisite ceremonies of spirituality, the whirling of the dervishes is an act of love and faith possessing a highly-structured form.

As part of the Sufi movement founded in 1273 after the death of poet, philosopher and mystic Rumi, Sema was declared as one of the "Masterpieces of the Oral and Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2008.

When Rumi passed away on Dec. 12, 1273, he was laid to rest near his father. The Green Dome, the site of Rumi’s tomb, was built later.

The Mevlana Dervish Convent and Tomb opened in 1926 and became the Mevlana Museum in 1954.

Since 1937, an international commemoration ceremony marking the anniversary of Rumi’s union with God is held in Konya on Dec. 7-17 every year in honor of the Muslim scholar.

#Mevlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi
#Time of Fidelity
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