Hidrellez in Istanbul
( 05 May 2011 in Sultanahmet - Ahirkapi)
Hidrellez Spring Festival 04 May 2011 - 09 May 2011/ ISTANBUL


It is said that whatever you wish for on that night, will come true!

"Hıdrellez", is one of the seasonal festivals of all Turkish world which is celebrated as the first day of the "early summer". It is also "day of Hızır", the day on which prophets Hızır and Ilyas met with each other on earth. The words Hızır and İlyas have since fused together pronounced as Hıdrellez. Hıdrellez Day falls on May 5-6. There are various theories about the origin of Hızır and Hıdrellez. Various ceremonies and rituals have been performed for various gods with the arrival of spring or summer in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Iran, Greece and in fact all eastern Mediterranean countries since ancient times. One widespread belief suggests that Hızır is a prophet who has attained immortality by drinking the water of life (ab-ı hayat), and who has reached God, and wanders around among people from time to time, especially in the spring, and helps people in difficulty and distributes plenty and health. The identity of Hızır, the place and the time he lived in are not certain. Hızır is the symbol of spring, and the new life which emerges with it. In Turkey, where belief in Hızır is widespread, the characteristics attributed to him are as follows:

• Hızır rushes to the aid of people in difficulty and grants peoples’ wishes.
• He always helps well-meaning, benevolent people.
• He brings plenty and wealth wherever he stops.
• He brings remedies to those who are troubled and health to the sick.
• He helps plants to grow, animals to reproduce, and human beings to grow strong
• He helps improve peoples’ fortune.
• He is the symbol of good omens.
• He has the God-given power of working miracles.

Hıdrellez Festival, that is still celebrated with grand ceremonies in Anatolia, has been celebrated since ancient times. Although it is celebrated under different names and in different times, it is possible to see the motifs of Hıdrellez in many places. The arrival of spring and awakening of nature have been percieved by mankind as a phenomenon to be celebrated. In fact, Hıdrellez, as a spring festival, has a universal character.

"The Hıdrellez at Ahırkapı" activities

Each year the activities begin on Ahirkapi Street and spread to the adjacent streets on 5th of May. Towards midnight the traditional fires will be jumped over and the wishes will be attached on the traditional Nahils. -The individual wishes are written on a piece of paper and attached on the Nahil´s. Nahil is a symbolic "wish-tree" and an ornament from Ottoman culture. The ones at the Ahirkapi Street were first designed and used during an "Earth Day" celebration on April 22, 2002. Since then they are being used as the "wish tree" of the Hıdrellez spring festivals which is organized by "The Association of Ahırkapi Hidrellez Festivals" and supported by local Eminönü Municipality as well as by Istanbul Governorship. This year the festival venue was expanded by covering the Akbıyık Street.

All the traditional spring foods and drinks (both the traditional ones and the brewery) are sold through the street-buffets, while the local musicians perform gypsy and Balkan music.
The Ahirkapi Roman Orchestra, which is consisting of the neighboring musician groups of Ahirkapi community, performs street concerts along with the guest performers... Küçük Hasan from Lüleburgaz a zurna genius and the drum master Tamer Kum and his group come every year. Last year The Ahirkapı Junior Orchestra (the children of the “Great Roman Orchestra” members), The "Macedon Koçani Orkestar", Buzuki Orhan, Yannis and Gorkem Saulis; Semaver Theatre Company, Goksenin Ileri Istanbul Songs Group joined and and DJ Shantel performed along with the others during whole evening. In addition to all of the abovementioned artists and groups, we will have Pire Mehmet and Ahırkapı Roman Group, Macedon Folk Orchestra, Ozlem Ozel, "Trace All Stars", "Sofia Romans Group", "Kolektif" and "Bazar Kumpanya" in this year’s event which will start by 19:00 with the “Hıdrellez Parade” at Ahırkapı Street and end at 00:30 with the traditional street fires on May 5th, evening.

For The Traditional Gyps Style Dance Workshops; & Hidrellez Spring Festival



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