Tonight and tomorrow, May 5-6 are Hidrillez, a major bayram, or festival, in Turkey and among Turkic communities that celebrates the meeting of Khidr and Elijah on earth. The word Hidrillez conflates the Turish versions of their names.
This is a time to write wishes and tie them to rose bushes, or make models of them and bury them in the ground. These are times when people dress up in their best clothes and receive family and friends. These is also the time of lively strolling Gypsy bands, of singing and feasting. I especially like the custom of jumping over fires fed with old belongings, old stuff from life you are ready to burn and let go.
I have a soft spot for Khidr, who for the medieval Sufis is “the guide of those who have no earthly guide”. Find Khidr, said Suhrawardi, the great mystical Persian philosopher, and you can easily find your way across the trackless wilderness to the heights of Mount Qaf, the world mountain. In popular belief in the Turkic world today, Khidr has become a universal healer and Elijah a patron of running water.
On this Eastern May Day, may your roses bloom!