The whirling ceremony of Sema is the iconic ceremonial ‘dance” for which the Mevlevis are famous. It is the central ritual of Mevlevi Sufis and it takes us on a spiritual journey, richly symbolic in the ceremony's various elements.
The dervishes participating in the ceremony consist of the musicians and the semazen, the dancers in the whirling ritual. They are directed by the semazenbashi, the dance master, and by the Sheikh, the leader and the representative of the Mevlevi teaching line. The dervishes wear distinctive traditional dress which derives from Mevlana and which has symbolic associations with death of the self and the journey of the spirit towards the Divine.
The ceremony is divided into four main parts – please click each link to learn more.