Author: Karin Geyikoğlu
Hıdırellez festival celebrated every year with a cairnaval-like atmosphere is in its essence a symbolic reflection of the relationship which was established with the nature by the man since its emergence on earth. Seasonal transitions had utmost vitality for the hunter-gather man who was yet in desperation before nature and death. Communities going through similar periods are thought to have given rise to myths alike which arose from a common symbolic tongue. Since seasonal transitions were celebrated differently within a variety of communities, they accordingly have attained diverse names.
The day with the particular name “Hıdırellez” which bears the traces of pagan faith in the region of Anatolia are celebrated by different communities with similar rituals. Celebrated in late April and early May, Hıdırellez is a time when people make wishes and believe that these will come true solely with the help of Prophet Hızır.
Hıdırellez has a totaly different significance for the Roma people also known as “Gypsies” who are one of the most exuberant communities of Anatolia or even the world. For this festival preparations are made for days. Children are adorned with colorful costumes, dresses with quipure are woven for the girls. Delicious foods are cooked, streets are decorated from end to end and the instruments are taken into maintanence by artists within the Roma community who can not help but dance even to the melody of a creaking door..
When the month of May arrives! All the preparation are ready in Tepecik-İzmir which is predominantly a Gypsy neighborhood. With the young and old dancing in every corner to the sound of drum, tambourine, shrill pipe, bass drum, cumbus, and parade of teenage girls rushing out of hairdressers with quiper and the kids filling up the streets, Tepecik transforms itself utterly into a festival ground.