Lifestyle2 February 2021
The Most Natural Festivity: Hıdrellez
As a tradition from the times in which humankind still had its connection with nature, Hıdrellez is an unmatched richness shaped by the Islamic culture. Precisely because of that, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture is working to get Hıdrellez listed on the “Cultural Heritage List” of UNESCO.
We give our thanks to what life has to offer us, we make our wishes, and celebrate the magical transformation of nature when spring comes on May 6th every year. It is undoubted that big city life and its daily rush may make us forget that spring means renewal and reconnection with life. Hıdrellez festivities offer us a unique chance to reform that connection. Almost all religions and cultures have some sort of spring celebrations. For us, Hıdrellez harbors a common history, common memories, and common traditions and for that reason, it is a special celebration that strengthens our connection with the past and one that reveals a common cultural memory. Transferred from generation to generation till today and forming a bridge between communities and cultures, Hıdrellez turns May 6th into a unique festival.
Hıdrellez is also accepted as a day of fruitfulness and fortune. It is celebrated with colorful events all around Turkey on May 6th. Houses are cleaned, best clothes are worn, and foods and beverages are prepared. Celebrations are held in forests, riverbanks, and near mausoleums. Masses dine together, festivities with music and games are organized for Hıdrellez, just like all other religious festivals. Some rituals like climbing trees, rolling around on greens for good luck, trying to make yoghurt or dough without yeast are still alive. Freshest spring vegetables and herbs are cooked, doughs are baked, fresh herbs from the wilderness are boiled and drank.
Maybe mankind has been celebrating the arrival of spring since day one on this blue planet. Think about many centuries before this one... Mankind is helpless and powerless against nature; they pray to survive the rough winter conditions. They had to struggle with illnesses and hunger in the dead of winter. They get their hopes up as March and April come... nature starts transforming as if all creatures are reborn. Based on this picture, we can easily say that it was inevitable for the lone and powerless prehistoric people to celebrate May as a holiday. This huge transformation could have easily been coded into the cultural memory, and even the DNA of mankind with the survival instinct. Maybe we are not as powerless as they were, but we still have our genetic coding and a voice inside us keeps saying “May is here, you survived another winter. You are alive and healthy.” This is why many cultures still celebrate the arrival of spring with festivities.