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Dervish facts for kids

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Indischer Maler um 1650 (II) 001
Dervish with a lion and a tiger, Mughal painting, c. 1650

A dervish or darvesh is a type of Sufi.

It is someone living a Sufi Muslim ascetic way or "Tariqah". They are poor, and live simply. In this respect, dervishes are most similar to mendicant friars in Christianity, or Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus.

Whirling dervishes

Whriling dervishes, Rumi Fest 2007
Whirling dervishes, Rumi Fest 2007

The whirling dance that is associated with dervishes is best known in the West by the performances of the Mevlevi order in Turkey. It is part of a ceremony known as the Sema. It is also done by other orders. The Sema is only one of many Sufi ceremonies performed to try to reach religious ecstasy (majdhb, fana).

The name Mevlevi comes from the Persian poet Rumi, who was a dervish himself. This practice, though not intended as entertainment, has become a tourist attraction in Turkey.

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