Whirling dervishes in Turkey - in pictures

Sheb-i Arus ceremony in Konya

All photos by AP

Whirling dervishes of the Mevlevi order perform during a Sheb-i Arus ceremony in Konya, central Turkey.

Every December the Anatolian city hosts a series of the spectacular events.

The festival is held to commemorate the death of 13th century Islamic scholar, poet and Sufi mystic Jalaladdin Rumi.

Thousands travel to the city, where the main events in a week-long festival are the Sheb-i Arus, or "night of union" ceremonies.

After prayers and verses from the Quran, the dervishes perform the spinning dance that takes them into a trance-like state.

The dervishes' long hats symbolise tombstones.

Their long white robes symbolise shrouds.

Their spinning induces a trance-like state which the dervishes believe brings them closer to God.

The ceremony ends, like it began, with prayer.

Updated: December 22nd 2021, 11:33 AM