December 1, 2022

Dance of Cyprus Whirling Derviş

for Tulips at Bellapais Monastery

By Ralph Kratzer

Tulips logoWe have already published a lot of reports on our websites about “Tulips – Help those with Cancer Association”.

Raziye Kocaismail, the founder of the organization and both her tireless colleagues Carole King and Sue Tilt, are looking constantly for something new to raise donations for the Cancer Aid.

This time it was something special, an evening with the Whirling Derviş of Cyprus.

Since I had never seen dervishes during my 10 years stay in Northern Cyprus, and my daughter from Germany, an avid ballet dancer, was on a visit with her boyfriend, I thought it would be a good idea, to show them both the beautiful scenery of the Bellapais Abbey and the dance of the whirling dervishes.

DSC00684This religious dance has a long tradition in Islam, Wikipedia describes it as follows: “The whirling dance or Sufi whirling, which is proverbially associated with dervishes, is best known in the West by the practices (performances) of the Mevlevi order in Turkey, and is part of a formal ceremony known as the Sema. It is, however, also practiced by other orders. The Sema is only one of the many Sufi ceremonies performed to try to reach religious ecstasy(majdhb, fana). The name Mevlevi comes from the Persian poet Rumi, who was a dervish himself. This practice, though not intended as entertainment, has become a tourist attraction in Turkey.”

If you want to learn more about it – click here!

DSC00648Before the performance we looked at the venerable Bellapais Abbey and also had the opportunity to watch a glass maker at work, who made a wunderful little statue of a donkey within a few minutes. After that we wanted to strengthen ourselves in one of the quaint restaurants in the neighborhood of the Bellapais Abbey. Unfortunately they were busy and we had to wait a longer time for our food and were therefore somewhat short of time suddenly. The good thing was – and this only happens in North Cyprus – the host said, we should come back after the event for coffee and brandy and pay later.

Sometimes it is highly advantageous to write articles for the Internet and newspapers and therefore know the right people.

When we finally arrived at the venue, we were led past the queue at the entrance and escorted to reserved seats in the front row! What a surprise! Thanks to Tulips, especially to Raziye, Carole and Sue!

DSC00659The dance of the dervishes and its historical and religious background was explained in detail in the introduction.

The magnificent refectory in the Bellapais Abbey was filled to the last seat and all the spectators enjoyed the event, which lasted about 50 minutes.

Again another highlight in the rich cultural life of Northern Cyprus and in addition helping a good cause, namely support of cancer patients!

Unfortunately, the TRNC Deputy Prime Ministry and Ministry of Economy, Tourism, Culture and Sport, who had agreed to attend the event as patrons, were not able to send a representative. So be it!

View more pictures of Bellapais Abbey

and the whirling dervishes – click here!

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