World Bulletin / News Desk
Bosnian Muslims have been celebrating their conversion to Islam five centuries ago with the traditional Ayvaz Dede fest. A wave of excitement was experienced marking the Ayvatovista celebrations, which begins with a long walk to the Ayvatovista valley.
People first gathered in Prusats in the early morning and started walking to symbolically follow the path of Ayvaz Dede.
Not only Bosniaks but also Muslims from other nations also attended the fest. Turkish soldiers in Bosnia as part of a peace mission were also in the fest and they distributed water, caps and flags to people.
The guides who represent a city of Bosnia walk at the front on their horses. Nearly, 300 horsemen were among the people walking to the valley. It was believed that Ayvaz Dede had walked all the way through the valley in order to bring water to the village.
During Ayvaz Dede Festival, which is the most far-reaching Islamic Festival of Europe and which is celebrated since the presence of Ottomans in Balkans (except for the period between 1947 and 1990) in the memory of Ayvaz Dede, an Anatolian Saint who, according to the legend, worshipped for 40 days for the cracking of the rock preventing Prusac village’s water, approximately 100.000 people (in the closing ceremony between 30 and 40.000) are hosted from Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby geography.
An 8 km long walk to commemorate Ayvaz Dede
Those attending the fest are pretty satisfied to be a part of five-century tradition. When they arrive Ayvatovista after walking 8 km, their exhaustion is over. The fest began in an area decorated with Turkish and Bosnian flags.
Ayvaz Dede is a 15th century dervish who moved to the Bosnian village of Prusats from Akhisar in western Anatolia.
Some believe Ayvaz Dede had come to Bosnia before the Ottoman conquest and he has been viewed as the pioneer of Islam. His legacy has always been a stronger part of Bosnia-Turkey relations.
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