Turkey celebrates the start of summer, Hıdırellez

Turkey celebrates the start of summer, Hıdırellez

Turkey celebrates the start of summer, Hıdırellez

AA photo

People across Turkey have gathered around giant Kakava fires to mark Hıdırellez, which is celebrated across the Turkic cultural world with festivities as a harbinger of summer. 

Locals and tourists attended traditional celebrations in the country’s northwestern border province of Edirne, in its historic Sarayiçi neighborhood, late on May 5.

The festivities commenced with the setting of a large Kakava fire and the start of music played with bass drums and the zurna, a wind instrument popular in Eurasia. People made a wish as they jumped over a fire while Roma citizens danced to the music.

Tourists started arriving in Edirne on tour buses to join the famous celebrations, which continued on May 6 as participants wrote down their wishes on pieces of paper and let them float through the Tundzha (Tunca) River early in the day, accompanied with prayers. People also washed their faces with water from the river, which the Roma people believe brings purification and health. 

Hıdırellez celebrations were also held in a number of neighborhoods of Turkey’s Aegean province of İzmir.

Roma people joined the events in traditional and colorful attire while rice and ayran, a yoghurt-based refreshment popular in Turkey, was distributed. 

Meanwhile, citizens from all religions gathered at the Aziz Corch Church in the İskenderun district of the southeastern border province of Hatay. People whose wishes from the previous year had been realized distributed Turkish delight during the meeting.

Hıdırellez marks the moment of the year when Hızır (also known as Khıdır), who symbolizes earth and vegetation, meets İlyas (or Elijah), who is associated with the sea and water. Thus, the day marks the meeting of land and water. 

It is believed that Hıdırellez brings abundance, prosperity and good luck to the people who believe in it and perform its rituals. 

Make a small replica of your wishes, or draw them on paper and bury them under a rosebush (but don’t forget to collect them early in the morning the next day), jump over a burning fire and keep your food containers’ lids and purses’ open on the night of May 5. You might be lucky enough to have Hıdırellez make your wishes come true.

Hıdırellez and its different variations are celebrated in the region stretching from Eastern Europe to Central Asia. In Turkey, the festivities are particularly important for the Roma and Alevi communities.