The colourful Hidrellez Festival in Edirne, Turkey
Our experience began with a two-hour dance class, given by Dalia Carella.
For me, two hours of continuous dancing was rather exhausting, so I ducked out to take some photos, and a video. Many of the Australian and Japanese attendees had studied this sort of dancing in their home countries, and were very proficient!
Later, ready to party, we crossed the bridge by the Justice Tower, a part of old Edirne Palace
We were greeted by this band, playing traditional Romani music
The festival in Turkey has become a joyous proclamation of the coming of spring. People prepare for Hidrellez by thoroughly cleaning their homes, buying new clothes and shoes to wear for the festival, and making special food, such as fresh lamb or lamb's liver.
Everywhere, there were groups of people dancing and singing
Suddenly, we heard the band, and the procession began. They came marching over the bridge.
We saw a man on stilts...
...and a beautiful lady, like a butterfly!
These children were singing and dancing for the crowds
A stack of wood seemed to be the focal point, and a man threw petrol over the wood.
Then the fire was lit, and the crowd backed away from the incredible heat!
We went to dinner at a nearby restaurant, and were entertained by the
amazing clarinetist, Yuksel, and his band
Even they were impressed by Dalia's dancing, as we partied into the night!
We arose early next morning to join the dawn celebrations by the Fatih Bridge. Many Turks believe that Hizir drank the water of life and is immortal, and that he is able to bring health, happiness, and abundance. For this reason, celebrations are often held near water, and the people write their wishes on pieces of paper, and throw them into the river so they will flow to Hizir, who will make their wishes come true.
People lined the bridge to watch the proceedings.
This woman was selling votive offerings to cast into the water with a wish
As dawn approached, there was singing and dancing
...and lots of happy people
The dancers came back for the sunrise dance
Here is my video of the Hidrellez Festival. Enjoy!