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EXPO 2000 Turkey - Dance of the whirling dervishes


The dervishes, member of the Mevlevi sect (founded by the philosopher and writer Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi in the 13th century), are coming from Konya, Turkey.

Their whirling dance, also known as the sema, takes place in the Belvedere, the tent at the east ground. Like many other attractions this was true only for the first days of the EXPO. Now I have only these pictures of this event, that I didn't see in the Turkey during my visits.

The show starts with a description of the shown scenes, given by a spokeswoman. It is a serious religious ritual performed by Muslim priests in a prayer trance to Allah of this Turkish sect. The religious music for the dance of the dervishes was given by a large orchestra. For other hints see the pictures.

The dance is performed in three parts. Each one takes five to ten minutes. The dervishes turn independently around their own axis as well as around the other dervishes, representing the earth turning around the sun or God / Allah. They did this always in the same direction!!!

For this translation I got some information from the encyclopedia brittanica online, as well as some Turkish websites.


picture legend picture legend
prayingInitially the high priest and the dancers pray together. permission for dancingAfter that each dancer got the permission for the sema by the high priest.
start sema After getting the permission the dancer starts his turn around the dancing area. turn aroundThe dervishes turn independently around their own axis as well as around the other dervishes, using the whole ground, representing the earth turning around the sun or God / Allah.
but controlledThe sema was completely controlled and corrected by the controlling priests, the black ones. 8 dervishesA group of dancers consist of 8 monks. The hat is synonymous with the tombstone, the black cape represent the coffin / casket and the white dress mean the shroud.
orchestraThe whole sema is accompanied by Islamic music, intonated by a large orchestra. hold speed and directionAll the dancers constantly hold the rotational speed and the direction. If one goes wrong, he was corrected by a priest.
hand postureIt is believed that the power of the Heavens enters into the upward extended right palm and passes through the body and leaves the lower, turned-down left palm to then enter into the Earth. Beginn der dritten RundeBetween each of the three passes the monks had a short pause to pray.
Dritte TanzrundeDuring the last turn the high priest personally met his dancers. Andacht und Gebet nach dem TanzAt the end of the sema all monks and the priests had a final pray.

Because this was a religious ceremony, I beg your pardon, if I make any mistake during this translation. If anything is wrong, please send me a e-mail with a correction of this error. At www.google.com you find much more information about this Turkish sect.


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