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Mevlana Whirling Dervishes, Turkey

Mevlana Whirling Dervishes

Men dressed in whites robes and tall hats spinning in circles doesn’t sound as exciting as running with the bulls or dancing at Rio’s Carnival, but the chance to watch the Whirling Dervishes will change you in a way you’d never expect. Based on the teachings and practices of the 13th-century poet Rumi, this 10-day festival will expose you to the power of devotion and show you that spinning can do more than just make you dizzy.

The idea to find inner peace through whirling didn’t come out of nowhere. Rumi was born in Afghanistan and spent time in Persia (present-day Iran) before moving to Konya, Turkey, where his father was invited to be a scholar. Rumi became a scholar himself, teaching peace, love and tolerance, for which he gained a large following. Educated followers saw him as a wise philosopher, while the uneducated regarded him as a prophet. Rumi’s life changed when he developed an intense learning relationship with an older, wandering mystic named Shams of Tabriz. Unfortunately Rumi’s followers didn’t approve of Shams’ influence, and supposedly killed the mystic.

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