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Turkey Celebrates Persian Poet Birthday




18 September 2005


The commemoration ceremonies of Mawlana, the famous Persian poet, attracts thousands of tourists from Iran and all over the world to Konya, in modern Turkey, every year.

The name Mawlana Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi stands for Love and ecstatic flight into the infinite. Rumi is one of the greatest spiritual masters and poetical geniuses of mankind and was the founder of the Mowalavi Sufi order, a leading mystical brotherhood of Islam.

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi or Rumi who was born in Balkh (then a city of the Greater Khorasan province of Persia, now part of what is known as Afghanistan) and died in Konya (in present-day what is known as Turkey, then within the Iran's Seljuk Empire's territory). His birth place and native tongue points towards a Persian heritage. He also wrote his poetry in Persian, and is read widely in Iranian world where the language is spoken. Yet, he is adored to such a degree that citizens of the modern states Turkey, Pakistan, and India sometimes consider him one of their own!

Escaping the Mongol invasion and destruction, Rumi and his family traveled extensively in the region, performed pilgrimage to Mecca, and finally settled in east of Iran Konya, in modern Turkey, which at that time was a part of the Iran's Seljuk Empire. When his father Bahaduddin Valad passed away, Rumi succeeded his father in 1231 as professor in religious sciences. When Rumi was just 24 years old, he was already an accomplished scholar in religious and positive sciences.

Every year Turkey attracts a lot of tourists to the country during the week of commemoration of Rumi birthday, in which a lot of Rumi lovers gather from all around the world for the ceremony. Turkey, aware of the importance of tourism industry and the income tourists bring in, tries to attract tourists including the Iranians who boast to the poet as a source of their national pride to the county during this week by holding ceremonies at the time of Rumi’s birthday.

In Commemoration ceremonies of Mawlana which is held in Konya city, where the tomb of this poet is located, several programs are be held which consist of music, Sama (a whirling dervish) dance, and lyric poems.
The Sama symbolizes the divine love and mystical ecstasy; they aim at union with the Divine. The music and the dance are designed to induce a meditative state on the love of God. Mowlavi music contains some of the most core elements of Eastern classical music and it serves mainly as accompaniment for poems of Rumi and other Sufi poets.

The Sama represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to "Perfect." Turning towards the truth, the follower grows through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the "Perfect." He then returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole creation.




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