Turkey’s spring festival Hıdırellez added to UNESCO list
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
The Turkish spring festival Hıdırellez has been added to the UNESCO list of “intangible cultural heritage,” the Culture Ministry has said.
In a statement, the ministry said the celebration had been added at a UNESCO meeting in South Korea.
Turkish communities around the world celebrate Hıdırellez on May 6 while Christians in the Balkans mark it as St. George’s day on April 23.
The roots of the celebration pre-date Islam or Christianity.
According to the Culture Ministry website, some theories say Hıdırellez has stemmed from Mesopotamian and Anatolian cultures while others claim its roots derive from the Turkic peoples of central Asia.
Across the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, different traditions and rituals have developed, many which are focused on bringing good luck with the arrival of spring.
While differing greatly from country to country, the event is often marked with the cleaning of homes and clothes, feasting or ceremonies held near open water or shrines.
Among the Roma community in Turkey’s northwestern province of Çanakkale, dancers in colorful clothing jump over bonfires for good health.
UNESCO has listed at least 14 cultural practices found in Turkey, according to the ministry. These include the Mevlana whirling dervishes, the Karagöz and Hacivat shadow plays, oil-wrestling in Kırkpınar and Turkish coffee.