3. Istanbul: Whirling Dervishes Ceremony and Mevlevi Sema
Experience the Mevlevi Sema ritual at the Kizlaragasi Medrese in the heart of Istanbul, featuring captivating whirling dances and dervishes. Whirling Dervishes are following a Sufi mystic tradition of the religion Islam. In the 12th century, one of the philosophers of the religion Islam opened the path of pure love tradition and led to the Mevlevi Sufi Order´s creation. The name Mevlevi comes from the creator of the order Mevlana Jelaleddini Rumi. Once, his book Rumi was even a top seller in the USA. When it comes to the act of whirling, the followers have an exciting philosophy for the act. In the old days, when the Mevlevi Monasteries were still open, the teachers had to be accepted if someone wanted to be a student. The order´s creator, Mevlana, once said anyone who tried to follow the order to be a student is more than welcome to see the order. So, there was no negative answer for someone who wanted to enter the order in the school. In the initiation though, they were given challenging tasks to complete to show they have whatever it takes to be students. After working in the kitchens to cook for everyone, cleaning all the monastery daily, and doing lots of hard jobs in the sanctuary, they may start studying the order. Whirling is the final act to say that they are accepted in the order, but the real question is, what is the exact meaning of this act? Whirling means to be in harmony with the rest of the creation to them. According to the Mevlevi order, everything was created in the action of whirling, exactly like day and night, summer and winter, life and death, and even the blood in the veils. If you want to be in harmony with the rest of the creation, you have to be in the same form of action. Every costume that they use, any musical instrument during the performance, has a definite meaning. Black costumes, for instance, symbolize death, white ones mean birth, the long hats they are wearing symbolize tombstones of their ego, and so on.