Accepted Paper:

Nevruz Cem ritual in a Bektashi village  


Seyhan Kayhan Kilic (Yeditepe University)

Paper short abstract:

Nevruz is celebrated as the beginning of a new year, the coming of spring. It has been interpreted by the Alevis and Bektashis, through an Islamic framework. It is performed to maintain fertility, peace, unity and solidarity. The ethnographic study is conducted in a Bektashi Village.

Paper long abstract:

Nevruz is a holiday celebrated by various cultural groups in the Anatolia, the Balkans, Crimea, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia. For some Alevi Bektashi groups, it is a cem ritual, celebrated once a year as the beginning of a new year and the coming of spring. It has also been interpreted through an Islamic framework, with meanings such as the birth of Ali. The fieldwork concerning Nevruz cem ritual was conducted in Çeşmeli Village, which is a village in the Çorlu district of Tekirdağ province. The mentioned field is where the believers of Sultan Sücaeddin Veli, their spiritual ancestor, and the believers' fathers live. The inhabitants of the village are Babai (Bektashi) community migrated from Bulgaria to the Anatolia. Nevruz cem ritual is a calendar ritual celebrated on the 21st of March. In the field, the Nevruz cem ritual is performed to celebrate the coming of spring and the beginning of a new year, intention of securing and maintaining fertility, peace, unity and solidarity. The Nevruz cem ritual is performed as the last ritual of the annual ritual calendar and following this, a new ritualistic cycle begins. In this study, conducted in Çeşmeli Village, under the authority, personal agenda of Sultan Sücaeddin Veli, the physical objects, verbal and behavioral manifestations in Nevruz cem ritual will be discussed. This will follow a semantic analysis of contact with the spiritual world. Nevruz cem ritual was observed before, during and after the performance of the ritual, and an ethnographic method was necessarily used.

Panel MB-SSR07
The ontological turn: new ethnographic approaches, theories and analysis of spirit mediumship, shamanism, religious ritual and discarnate phenomena