February 28, 2011

Whirling Dervishes perform in honor of Nobel Prize laureate’s İstanbul visit

Wednesday night (25.02.2011) saw a performance by the Whirling Dervishes at the recently reopened Yenikapı Mevlevihanesi (Dervish Lodge) in İstanbul’s Mevlânakapı neighborhood to honor the visit of Martti Ahtisaari, the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former president of Finland, in Istanbul.


Introducing the old Sufi tradition of the Whirling Dervishes ceremony, known as Mevlevi Sema, Karlığa explained that the performance, which he described as “a metaphysical elevation dance,” goes back to the founder of the Mevlevi order, Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi. The ritual, he said, carried a “message of peace from eight centuries ago” and “continued to attract the souls of people from different races and religions” until the present day.

Directing his attention to the guest of honor that evening, Karlığa said he hoped the ritual would inspire the former Finnish president, who in 2008 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his longstanding efforts to resolve international conflict, to continue to convey his own message of peace on a global stage. Karlığa concluded his remarks by stressing that “in today’s world such a message of peace is needed more than ever.”

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