Discover Manisa and join Mesir celebrations
Mesir Paste Festival is a large scale festival in the centre of Manisa that has been going on for more than 480 years and consists of various traditional practices. Local people have a deep emotional connection with the festival.
Mesir is a traditional Turkish sweet that has therapeutic effects. Mesir paste was first produced as a medicine during the Ottoman period, but later became an important part of local festivities in the city of Manisa. Earlier versions of Mesir paste were not sweet, but rather spicy in flavour.
Mesir Paste, consists of a special recipe of a paste with 41 different herbs and spices, is scattered hoping that it would ensure the well being of each and everyone during Nevruz week every year.
Mesir Paste Festival celebrated during the week of Nevruz which is recognized as the beginning of spring, includes various cultural and traditional practices. The festival brings together people from almost every part of Turkey, making an important contribution to social peace and cohesion. Preparations are made for both foreign and domestic visitors to the festival in Manisa, and they make a point to give foreign guests and neighboring cities some of the mesir paste as a token of Turkey's tradition of hospitality.
It has been organized in Manisa for approximately 480 years.
The festival activities begin each year with prayers said over the stirring and cooking of the mesir paste.
At least three tons of mesir paste is prepared for throwing and passing out during the festival.
The mesir paste is wrapped in small pieces of shiny, colourful paper by at least 14 women who must be characterized by cleanliness, dexterity, experience and patience.
The paste is stirred and cooked with prayers and wishes for speedy recovery before being thrown to the people from the minaret and dome of Sultan Mosque.
Thousands of people from different parts of Turkey compete with one another to catch a piece of the paste before it hits the ground.
The festival program includes not only the mesir stirring and distribution ceremonies but events like the traditional mesir cortege, a cooking contest, public concerts, entertainment for children, theatre and folk dance performances.
Mesir Paste Festival was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012.