Every year in early May, people all over Turkey celebrate Hidirellez. One of the biggest and best festivals is in Edirne, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria.
Hidirellez is a religious festival and also traditionally celebrates the return of spring and the traditions have been passed down through the generations. One is the custom of building a big fire for young people to jump over. This is said to bring luck and good health in the coming year.
The festival attracts visitors from all over Turkey and further afield, and the authorities have asked UNESCO to give it “intangible cultural heritage” status.
Ferhat Aslan, an associate professor at Istanbul University, in the Turkish Folk Literature Department said: “Cultural festivals like this, which preserve our cultural heritage and values should be protected and kept alive. So what UNESCO is doing is of great importance for Hidirellez. It means it will not be forgotten but continued and passed on to future generations.”
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