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Hidirellez, which begins on the evening of May 5th and continues through the next day, is the Turkish celebration of Spring, as well as a religious holiday for the Alevis (a branch of Islam).  The name Hidirellez is thought to come from the names of the two prophets, Hizir and Ilyas (Elijah) who met on this date.

In the folk calendar, the year used to be divided into two: The period between May 6 and November 8 was called the “Days of Hızır”, and the period between November 8 and May 6 was called the “Days of Kasım”.

Hidırellez is actively celebrated in the countryside, less in the big cities.  People prepare for Hıdirellez by house-cleaning, washing clothes, and of course cooking food . Some people buy new clothes  to wear on Hıdrellez Day. Giving alms, fasting and sacrificing animals are traditions in some parts of Anatolia.  

Celebrations are generally held outdoors, as the recent May 5th and 6th open air concerts held in front of the Pyramid at Ataturk Kultur  Park.  But there are many ways to celebrate:  Here’s a video of a fire-jumping ceremony taking place on Hidirellez.

Fire Jumping Ceremony

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