Mevlevi Sema Ceremony

Discover Turkey and preserve Sema ceremony

Whirling Dance Ceremony

Mevlevi Sema Ceremony requires skill and concentration to perform and includes mystical symbols at several stages from the beginning to the end. Whirling during the sema represents witnessing God in all places and aspects.


Mevlevi Sema Ceremony is a Sufi ceremony that symbolizes on the path to accessing God and contains religious elements and themes with detailed rules and characteristics.

The ceremony consists of the noble eulogy to the Prophet Mohammed, flute solo, prelude, the Circling of Veled and four segments, which form an integral whole and contain different Sufi meanings. The Sema Ceremony is performed with traditional Mevlevi music in spaces where Mevlevi culture can be properly transmitted.

Person's Return to Truth and Love: Every part of Sema (Whirling Dance Ceremony) has a different meaning. When Sema is analyzed in terms of discipline it is seen that tha main condition for existing is to turn. It is the subject's disappearence in the truth and his return back to being a subject as a perfect and mature person.

Sema is happiness, cure for the body, and nutrition for the spirit.

Whirling Dervishes

The whirling dervishes who perform the ceremony must undergo rigorous spiritual and physical training before they are ready for the service. All of the postures and demeanors in the area where the Sema are performed conform to rule of decency. Individuals who perform the Sema are expected to be capable of reading and understanding the written works of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi and to have the skill required to engage in arts such as music and calligraphy. The course of training required for the whirling dervish will put him on a spiritual journey, in other words it will put him on the path of the Perfect Man, which envisions transformation and development after the acquisition of knowledge. The spiritual journey includes many different stages, such as loyalty, love, service, the remembrance of God and solitude.

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Mevlevi Sema Ceremony proclaimed a Masterpiece in 2005 within the framework of the UNESCO Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity Program, was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.

UNESCO Identity Card:

  • Official Name: Mevlevi Sema Ceremony
  • Criteria: Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
  • Date of Inscription: 2008

The ceremony can be watched for free every Saturday at the Sema Hall of Mevlana Cultural Center in Konya.

Every year, ten thousands of people participate in the sema programs.

Whirling Dance Ceremony
Zenne and Celebi Figures