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Ceremonies - Celebrations

There are some small ceremonies realized by people during plowing, seeding, harvesting and collecting. But only a few of them can be accepted as festival. However, in places focusing on vineyard and gardening business or in places working on high plateau business, we observe that some festivals are celebrated. We can give cherry festival in the Kemalpasa district of Izmir, nut festival of Giresun or apricot festival of Mut as examples to this kind of festivals. These ceremonies have turned into festivals as a result of efforts aiming to survive old festivals with new purposes and in order to live in harmony with the changing conditions.

Various ceremonies held in southeast Anatolia can be included in this group of festivals. The “pancarci şenlikleri” (festivals of beet workers) in villages in the Savsat district of Artvin, the “seyran senlik” held in the villages of Pasaf, and the “at gocu” (migration of horses) which last three days in the villages of Giresun are the best examples. The common characteristics of these ceremonies is that they are all held a few months after some of the vıllagers have migrated to the high plateaus. They are held at a time when all the work in the villages is finished, and when they have time to join the people on the high plateaus for a few days before coming down back to the villages for harvesting.

In Erzurum, although the ceremony is held again on a day at the end of June or in the beginning of July before harvesting, moving the to high plateaus is not necessary. People go to picnic areas or thermal springs. These are all celebrated as festivals with drums, zurna or other musical instruments, with dances, plays, various games and contests such as race or javelin throwing, with meals eaten communally.

The southern Yuruks (a nomadic shepherd people of Anatolia) also stage ceremonies resembling festivals while leaving their winter places and moving to the high plateaus: these include visits to holy people’s graves, communal feasting, shooting competitions, wrestling and music.