ISTANBUL, Turkey, November 30, 2006 – More than one million people are
expected to descend on Konya, Turkey, from December 1 – 17 to witness one
of the world’s most anticipated spectacles, the Whirling Dervish Festival.
The annual festival marks the death of Mevlâna Celaleddin Rumi, the poet
and philosopher who founded the Mevlevi Order in the 13th century.
Each year, the commemorative ceremony for Mevlâna Celaleddin Rumi begins
as it has for nearly 800 years, with a traditional reading accompanied by
the mesmerizing sounds of the ney (reed flute). Following the readings from
a poem of praise for Mevlâna, the thrilling dance begins: The barefoot
dervishes remove their flowing black cloaks to reveal white robes, before
taking position to begin their traditional whirling movements. This year’s
performances will take place weekdays at 7:00 p.m. and twice on weekends at
1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
The festival is particularly meaningful this year as the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has just
announced that it will commemorate the 800th anniversary of Mevlâna
Celaleddin Rumi’s birth as one of the celebrations of anniversaries with
which UNESCO is associated. For more information, visit www.unesco.org.