Friday, June 27, 2008

Religious ecstasy as tourist attraction

As you can tell by the video, watching dervishes makes me a little dizzy.

They are holy men who take a vow of poverty and they are really noble, but they have become famed for their whirling, which is not supposed to be entertainment, but is so entertaining that it's the main attraction (well, except for belly dancing) at the cafes and bazaars throughout old Istanbul. The whirling is a physical method they try to reach religious ecstasy -- like chanting a mantra or hitting your head on the floor. The music that accompanies the twirling is very beautiful and they hold their arms and hands out like ballerinas.

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