02 July 2021

TİKA Supported Ajvaz Dede Festivals in Bosnia and Herzegovina

With the support of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), Istanbul Historical Turkish Music Ensemble Janissary (Mehter) Band of Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism participated in the event, which has been held for more than 500 years in memory of Akhisarlı Ajvaz Dede, one of the Khorasan Erens who came to Bosnia and Herzegovina from Anatolia.

The 511th Ajvaz Dede Festivals, which is among the important cultural events of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was held between June 26-27, 2021 this year. The groups gathered in Karaula, near Travnik moved toward Prusac, where the central program will be held. They put fez on their heads, wore traditional clothes, and they were carrying the banners in their hands and the janissary band of our country performed some songs.

The songs "Genç Osman", "Hücum Marşı (Attack Anthem)", "Fetih Marşı (Conquest Anthem)", "Ceddin Deden" were played by the janissary band, which participated in the event with the support of TİKA, and the audience watched this show with great interest.

In Kraula, Prusac and Ajvatovica Mountain in Central Bosnia, festivals are held every year on the last Sunday of June in memory of Ajvaz Dede, one of the important symbols of Bosniaks' conversion to Islam.

Who is Ajvaz Dede?

Ajvaz Dede of Manisa Akhisar, one of the Khorasan Erens who came to Bosnia and Herzegovina from Anatolia for spiritual guidance, like Sarı Saltuk, came to the mountain in Prusac (Akhisar) where there was a drought more than 500 years ago and which hosts festivals today, and prayed there for 40 days and 40 nights.

It is narrated that Ajvaz Dede, who had been praying to bring water to the region where the people suffered from famine and the animals were dying of thirst, saw two rams butting heads while he was sleeping one night. And when he woke up, he saw the mountain splitting and the river running loudly.

After that, the region got water and the drought ended, and the people of the region hearing about this miraculous event, converted to Islam.

Ajvaz Dede, who is believed to have come from Akhisar, is an alperen dervish. It is said that he helped to meet the water needs of Bosnians by breaking the rocks with his prayers and worshiping during the long-term drought. The "legend of bringing water by breaking the rocks with his prayers", which is conveyed through generations, is celebrated with enthusiasm by Bosnians with their horses, red fez and Ottoman banners, as it was in the past. Many foreign guests, including from our country, also show interest in these festivals.

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