The Turkish religious order of the Mevlevis each year commemorate the death of their founder-poet, mystic philosopher and humanist - Mevlana Jalauddin Rumi, with a week-long festival.
GV PAN EXTERIOR Tomb of Mevlana in Konya with old perfume seller spraying scent on follower (2 shots)
LV ZOOM INTO SV INTERIOR Mevlana tomb showing tombs of Mevlana's disciple in foreground, with Mevlana's tomb and father's casket at far end
CU Painting of Mevlana
CU Shirt and hat (Serpus) worn by Mevlana, in glass showcase (2 shots)
GV Dervishes enter hall and bow while musicians play during ceremony (3 shots)
SV & CU Dervishes whirling with gowns billowing around feet (3 shots)
CU & SV Dancers whirling to music (4 shots)
CU One of older religious leaders slowly turning
GV PAN From musicians to dancers spinning
CU PULL BACK TO LV Pigeons bathing in fountain outside Mevlana's tomb
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Background: The Turkish religious order of the Mevlevis each year commemorate the death of their founder-poet, mystic philosopher and humanist - Mevlana Jalauddin Rumi, with a week-long festival. This year marked the seven hundred and seventh anniversary. His followers in Konya performed the ceremonial whirling dervish dance, representing a search for spiritual unity with Mevlana.
SYNOPSIS: The festivities were centred on the Mevlana religious complex which houses the Islamic mystic's tomb. Outside the gates a perfume seller anoints a follower's hands. Mevlana, born in Khorasan, Central Asia in 1207. He moved to Konya, capital of the central Turkish state of Seldjuk while still a child.
Inside the complex, the remains of the man regarded as one of the most profound thinkers of his time, rest with his father and disciples. Ancient oil lamps and relics of the era burn near the standing casket, which legend says, righted itself out of respect, when the learned man was buried beside his father.
During his lifetime, Mevlana produced a vast quantity of written works. Collections of poems and prose contain his sermons, anecdotes and essays on a wide variety of religious and mystic topics. Even his hat and shirt have been preserved.
Mavlana's inspiration is said to have come from a wandering mystic dervish, named Shamsuddin of Tabriz, whom he met in Konya in 1244. The dervish became his lifelong mentor.
The dance ceremony of present day members of the order is very personal, as well as symbolic. The first part, the "Zikr" or the remembrance of God, involves incantations combined with breathing techniques and physical movements to reach a high spiritual level.
The second part, the dancing, follows. The dancers strive to achieve a state of unconsciousness after whirling themselves into a trance.
The dancers, seeking an emotional relationship between man and God, carry their right palm raised to God, their left palm turned down as a symbol for passing God's grace to fellow humans.
Members of the Mevlevis sect meet in private, but have no special daily religious practices. The basic tenets of Mevlana's order are love of God, humanism and tolerance among men. The intensely humanistic philosophy has attracted a large number of followers in Western Europe.