Mahyas to light up Turkish mosques during Ramadan
Only hours before the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, mahyas were hung in significant mosques of Turkey’s northwest cities such as Istanbul, Edirne and Bursa, which once served as Ottoman capitals.
Turkey’s General Directorate of Foundations continued the hundreds of year old tradition of hanging mahyas to significant mosques this year as well.
Known as “mahya,” the tradition to display devotional messages using string lights from the soaring minarets of the Ottoman-era mosques is unique to Turkey and dates back hundreds of years.
Suspended between the minarets, these string lights generally display religious messages in huge letters, visible from afar and intended to reward and inspire the faithful who have spent the daylight hours fasting.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, like the previous year, it was decided to hang them in order to emphasize public health this year too.
In this context, after mahya hanging operations in mosques in Istanbul were completed, the mahya team came to the northwestern province of Edirne.
The mahya, which was prepared in a workshop in Istanbul and brought to Edirne, was hung between the minarets of the city’s iconic Selimiye Mosque by masters after four hours of backbreaking work, beaming its Ramadan message “healing comes from you, God” across the historic city.
Kahraman Yıldız, a 66-year-old mahya master who has been giving up his free time to build and erect mahyas for the last 40 years, said that two separate mahyas would be hung in Selimiye Mosque during Ramadan.
Yıldız stated a second message would be displayed on the mahya on the 15th day of Ramadan month.