Today is Hidirellez: Make a Wish

Today is Hidirellez: Make a Wish

Image: Pixabay/@koka223

Today is Hıdırellez: Make a Wish on the night of May 5. All wishes that are made on that night will be granted within the span of a year.

It is celebrated in Turkey and throughout the Turkic world. It celebrates the arrival of spring.

Hıdırellez is celebrated as the day on which the prophets Hızır (Al-Khdir) and İlyas (Elijah) met on the earth. The words Hızır and İlyas have since fused together pronounced as Hıdırellez.

The Hıdırellez, which falls on May 5-6, is a celebration of “the day of Hızır”. It is believed that all wishes that are made on that night will be granted within the span of a year.

Hıdırellez festivities are common throughout Turkey. Each province has their own unique way of celebrating the day and making wishes on the night of May 5, following customs passed down by their ancestors.

Write down your wishes on a paper and put it in a red piece of fabric and hang on a rose tree, then before morning hours take out that paper and throw away in a water… That’s it!

Ceremonies and Rituals

There are various theories about the origin of Hızır and Hıdırellez. Various ceremonies and rituals were performed for various gods with the arrival of spring or summer in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Iran and other Mediterranean countries from ancient times.

One widespread belief suggests that Hızır has attained immortality by drinking the water of life. He often wanders on the earth, especially in the spring, and helps people in difficulty. People see him as a source of bounty and health, as the festival takes place in spring, the time of new life. To date, the arrival of spring or summer, figuratively meaning the rebirth of nature or the end of winter, has been celebrated with ceremonies or various rituals at every place in which mankind lives. Within the seasonal cycle, winter symbolizes death; spring symbolizes revival or regeneration of life. Thus, time for the days full of hope, health, happiness and success comes. Therefore, Hıdırellez Day is highly significant since it is believed to be the day on which Hızır and İlyas met on the earth, which is accepted as the arrival of spring/summer.

In Turkey, it is widely believed that Hızır is the prophet who while bringing fertility to man wanders on the earth and as for the prophet İlyas, he is accepted as the water deity. In order to fulfill some of their missions, these two prophets wander around the land and the sea throughout the year and meet on May 6. This meeting stands for the fusion of the land and water.

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Today, the ceremonial activities for Hıdırellez are prevalently and elaborately prepared especially in villages or towns rather than metropolises. The preparations for the celebrations are associated with the issues as cleaning the house and the garments, dress, finery and food-drink and doing shopping for the feast. The indoor of the houses and the outdoor places as gardens are supposed to be clean, because Hızır is expected to visit the houses on that day. Almost everywhere, garments and other apparels and food-beverages are common components of Hıdırellez ceremonies. All the preparations related to the ceremonies are of particular concern to the young men or women, since Hıdırellez is regarded as the most proper occasion for the youth-willing to marry in the future-to find a suitable match.

Hıdrellez ceremonies are held in the countryside near the cities, towns or villages where generally streams, lakes or other water springs exist. By great majority, there are tombs or shrines open to visits in those locations which are placed on hills. Bearing the specific features, Hıdırlıks are particularly chosen for Hıdırellez ceremonies.

As Hızır is believed to be a healer, some ritual practices as regards to health issues can be seen on Hıdırellez Day. On that day, meals cooked by lamb meat are traditionally feasted. It is believed that on Hıdırellez Day all kinds or species of the living, plants and trees revive in a new cycle of life, therefore the meat of the lambs grazing on the land which Hızır walks through is assumed as the source of health and happiness. In addition to these, some special meals besides lamb meat are cooked on that day.

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The other ritual practice for seeking health and cure is the ritual of jumping over the fire which is built by old belongings or bushes. While uttering prayers and riddles, people jump over the fire at least three times. That fire is called Hıdırellez fire; hence, it is believed that all illnesses or diseases are warded off all the year long. Another ritual practice for having good health on Hıdırellez Day is to be awash or bath by water brought from some holy places.

It is believed that all the wishes and prayers come true on the eve and the very day of Hıdırellez. If one wishes to have more properties, s/he makes a small rough model of it onto the ground in the garden and Hıdırlık. Occasionally, the wishes or prayers are written on a piece of paper and thrown at a river or sea nearby.

Furthermore, within the scope of Hıdırellez ceremonies in Turkey and the countries mentioned, some practices related to seeking for good fortune and luck can be seen. One of those practices is the tradition called “mantufar, martifal etc.”, which is played to have good fortune. On 5th of May, the girls or women seeking for good fortune, luck or a suitable match to marry put their rings, earrings etc. into a pot. Then, the pot is closed after pouring some water into it. Afterwards, the pot is left under a rose tree for one night and the following day, women put the pot in the middle of the crowd and take their belongings out while reciting mâni (rhyming Turkish poems).

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