17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

Hıdırellez festivities kick off across Turkey with wishes and celebrations

6 May 2012, Sunday /TODAY'S ZAMAN
The spring festival of Hıdırellez was celebrated on Saturday night across Turkey, where citizens in different provinces celebrated “the day of al-Khidr” with their own unique festivities.

The Hıdırellez, which falls in the first week of May, is a commemoration of the day the Prophets al-Khidr and Elijah met in Islamic belief, and it is believed that any wishes made during the festival will be granted within the span of a year.

Hıdırellez festivities are common throughout Turkey. Each province has its own unique way of celebrating the day and of making wishes on the night of May 5, following customs passed down from their ancestors.

In the province of Van, locals gathered by the Akköprü River after the morning prayer to throw pieces of paper with their wishes written on them onto the banks and into the river at morning's first light.

In Antakya, residents participated in a similar ceremony, writing wishes on stones and paper and leaving them at the riverbank.

Hıdırellez participants in Ankara's Hamamönü district left wishes and small gifts in a park the municipality assigned for the celebrations, where residents danced throughout the day. Tuncay Temel, deputy minister of the Altındağ Municipality, in which Hamamönü is located, told the Anatolia news agency that he was proud of the celebrations and said the municipality had worked to accommodate the festivities.

Folklore scholar Öcal Oğuz of Gazi University explained to the Anatolia news agency that the festival was an important way to preserve folkloric traditions “amid the massive trend towards urbanization in Turkey.”

In the southwestern town of Budur, participants enjoyed dancing at nearby Budur Lake and an eight-kilometer bicycle race. Similar celebrations were held in the southwestern cities of Afyonkarahisar and Isparta.

The festival was also celebrated by the Roma community in the western province of Edirne, where revelers gathered near Tunca Nehri Lake to dance and sing.

Celebrations were also held across İstanbul, the largest of which was in the Ahırkapı district of Sultanahmet. İstanbulites involved in the festival commonly celebrate by writing their wishes on a piece of paper and attaching it to a sacred Nahil or “wish tree.”

NATIONAL  Other Titles
Chief ombudsman laments low implementation of KDK recommendations
'Banning social media disaster for any government's global image'
Nana Zeyini dies at age of 120
Turkey's Gül says candidacy in presidential election not yet settled
92,000 die of cancer each year in Turkey
Ministerial bureaucrats purged after being profiled by MİT
Purges in police force leading to higher crime rate
Four-year-old dies after being found with slit throat, wrist
Report: Naval command allegedly profiles personnel
PM avoids suing critics of corruption out of fear ‘truth may come out'
Armenian Akdamar church restoration nears completion
Ruling AK Party to determine presidential candidate toward end of May
Probe launched into Afyonkarahisar explosion on suspicion of terrorism
Legal complaint issued over Mazhar Bağlı’s hate speech
American journalism school offers free online training in Turkish
AK Party deputies pass MİT law article-by-article despite warnings
AK Pary government punishing reassigned police officers
Commemorations for former President Özal, supporter of Turkish schools abroad
Gag order on case file in Yazıcıoğlu's death lifted
Erdoğan threatens judges, prosecutors in party group speech
Opposition leaders say PM turning Turkey into intelligence state
Opposition CHP leader likens Erdoğan to Hitler, Mussolini
Nearly 90 police officials purged in southeast Turkey
Nearly 280 police officers reassigned in four provinces
Twitter executives meet with Turkey's President Gül