Hidrellez Festival

Hidrellez Festival

May 6
The Hidrellez Festival is observed in Turkey every May 6. It is marked as the day that two prophets, Hizir and Ilyas, met each other on Earth, and the holiday also is known as Ruz-I Hizir (day of Hizir). The word Hidrellez is a fusing of the two names. The festival is a joyous celebration of the coming of spring. The customs associated with it probably derive from various eastern Mediterranean traditions, including Mesopotamian, Anatolian, and pre-Islamic central-Asian Turkish. All of these cultures have numerous, age-old rituals and ceremonies associated with the renewal and rebirth of spring. Many Turks believe that Hizir drank the water of life and is immortal, and that he is able to bestow people with health, happiness, and abundance. He is a symbol of new life, and in some parts of Turkey, people offer sacrifices and votive offerings "for the sake of Hizir" to make their prayers and wishes come true.
People prepare for Hidrellez by thoroughly cleaning their homes, because they believe that Hizir will not visit houses that are not clean. They also purchase fresh new clothes and shoes to wear for the Hidrellez Festival, and prepare special food, such as fresh lamb or lamb's liver. On Hidrellez night, people leave purses and pantries open and put out food bowls, in the belief that Hizir will bring abundance to the homes he visits. If they desire a house or vineyard, they will make a little model of what they want so that Hizir will help them obtain it. Throughout Turkey at Hidrellez time, people perform various ceremonies to improve or to test their luck, believing that fortunes improve with the reawakening of nature in springtime. Such ceremonies typically are carried out in leafy, green places or near sources of water.
CONTACTS:
Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Ataturk Bulvari No: 29
06050 Opera
Ankara, Turkey
www.kultur.gov.tr
SOURCES:
HolSymbols-2009, p. 355
UndIslam-2004, p. 377
References in periodicals archive ?
Popular customs of the cult of al-Khidr, including the Turkish Hidrellez festival, are described in detail.