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Ceremonies commemorating Rumi set to start in central Turkey

Whirling Dervishes take part in a Sema Prayer Ceremony marking the anniversary of the death of Mevlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi on December 17, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. December 17, 2017 [Chris McGrath/Getty Images]
Whirling Dervishes take part in a Sema Prayer Ceremony marking the anniversary of the death of Mevlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi on December 17, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. December 17, 2017 [Chris McGrath/Getty Images]

Authorities in central Turkey have completed preparations to mark the 748th anniversary of the passing of Mevlana Jalaluddin Al-Rumi – known in the West as Rumi – a 13th-century mystic, poet, and philosopher whose influence carries down to our day, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Backed by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, ten days of commemoration ceremonies will be held in the city of Konya, where Rumi is buried, with the participation of scores of local and foreign guests.

The passing of Rumi on 17 December, 1273, is known as Seb-i Arus – or the wedding night, a reference to Rumi's reunion with God.

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A great variety of events will be held during the ceremonies, including symposiums, exhibits, and workshops, as well as the famous ritual of the whirling dervishes.

Fahri Ozcakil, head of the Islamic Sufism music association in Konya, said the performers have been holding Sema programs every weekend this year.

"We have a group of 49 artists, including the guest performers," he said, adding that the group recently stepped up its rehearsals and is now ready for the ceremonies.

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