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Blog 7, Tanveer H Chowdhury

Whirling dervishes are a classic image of Turkey, spinning serenely in their tombstone-like felt hats and billowing white robes to create a fascinating ceremony aimed at achieving oneness with God. A practising dervish told Culture Trip about the mystic sema ceremony’s meanings, how dervishes train and the challenges once faced by their Sufi order. To have women spinning among men in dervish prayer is a break from tradition for the Istanbul-based group that seeks to update the mystical dervish branch of Islam founded more than 700 years ago.

Qawwali is a well known form of music in south Asia and middle east and usually Sema ceremonies being performed while this type of music is playing in the background. Qawwali seems like it came straight from the medieval period and still holds its unique characters. Qawwali is live performing music which usually happens in Mazar (grave of Well known influential characters). It gives you a very holy and spiritual feeling to enjoy the moment more than that the lyrics of qawwali is the main beauty of the song. Even people who do not dance and go to watch the show they start shaking their body and head. So, this Sema ceremony and qawwali has a great connection and putting both of these together helps to bring the best performance out of it and entertain its crowd.