Hıdırellez Ceremony, Its Rituals, and Symbols


Khidr and Elijah

5th night and 6th of May is celebrated as Hıdırellez in Anatolia, Middle East, Middle Asia and Balkans with many lovely and cheerful rituals. Its name is coming from Hızır (Khidr) and İlyas (Elijah). It is believed that tonight Khidr and Elijah will meet in the world.

Confusion or signaling unity?

Interestingly for some Khidr is the protector of earth and Elijah is the protector of the water and for others, Khidr and Elijah are the same characters, one in Islamic tradition and the other in Jewish tradition, respectively. Even for some others, Khidr is the protector of the seas.

On 5th of May night, every year, Khidr and Elijah coming together on the earth which fills people’s hearts with love and joy, so they celebrate. It is so similar to the belief of Beltane, as I have written here; as the meeting of Goddess and the Green Man. For some, it is believed that Khidr and the green man are the same characters.

Khidr and Elijah are 2 of the immortals beside Idris and Jesus. Both Khidr and Elijah are believed they have drunken from the fountain of youth and they are the servants of God.

Khidr and Saint George

Khidr is a very important figure for Alevi people In Turkey. They believe Khidr is helping those who are in need, appearing with his white horse just as Saint George as I have written before here, for some it is believed that Khidr and Saint George are the same characters.

For Alevi people, Khidr is always living with them, not just one day of the year. Khidr is in their hearts and in their lives, reminding them of the support of God limitless from the time and space.

blog-post-man-on-fishKhidr and Moses

Khidr is always illustrated in green color, the color of the heart chakra, and unconditional love. It is believed that wherever he was sitting, the color was changing to green.

All the stories around Khidr are so valuable and deserve to meditate on it to go deeper into its meanings. My favorite is the meeting of Khidr with Moses, as Moses wants to learn about the ‘knowledge’ of Khidr which has been given by God.

They both meet at the junction of the two seas, Khidr accepts Moses to follow him, whereas he warns him saying that all these actions are coming from God and cannot be understood all the time by the human mind, so Moses needs to keep his patience and not intervene otherwise, he cannot continue to be with Khidr.

They start their journey and pass together through many situations, seemingly unjust or inappropriate actions Khidr takes (sinking a ship, killing a young man, repaying inhospitality by repairing a wall), which as a result Moses cannot keep his promise and intervene many times during the journey, so Khidr says to Moses that the journey together comes to an end as he does not keep his promise and explains the circumstances unknown to Moses that made each of the actions just and/or appropriate.

Khidr’s guidance

In Sufi tradition, there is a belief that one needs a guide in the search for the Truth as the way is long and easy to get lost and for those who do not have a guide, Khidr is appearing to some people as a guide in their journey of love and searching the Truth.

Khidr is already guiding us with all these stories in this journey of knowing your own self, as we call life:

  • Life is a circle with its winters and summers, with grief and joy, there is a place for each again and again.

  • Khidr can reach me all the time if only I am humble enough to ask.

  • Life gives me what I need not what I ask, even though sometimes it is hard for me to understand with my mind.

  • If I become the servant of God with unconditional love, then maybe I can drink from the fountain of youth.

On the night of the 5th of May, it is the time of celebration as well as a new start. Spring is coming to the outer world, so to the inner world.

If you are the admirer of life than you will have this feeling of reverence to life. Today is the time to show that reverence resulted from wonder.

What you can do in Hıdırellez as a ritual?


Here is my list to you from my own land, Turkey, how people are still celebrating this ceremony full of rituals:

  • Till the 5th of May, you can get prepared by cleaning your house and just keep the stuff in your home that they really need and that gives you joy, all those other stuff you can get rid of. It is time to make a change between winter and summer clothes.

  • You can hang fresh flowers and branches to your home door to greet Khidr and Elijah.

  • You can make a bonfire and dance around with your loved ones and jump above it for your wishes to come true.

  • Dance, sing, enjoy some nice food around the fire. If you can not make a bonfire, then with a candle, you can invite the protection and the purification of the fire element.

  • Tonight, purify yourself also with the water element, have a shower, bath, and meditate.

  • Feel what does it mean spring for your inside, what wants to blossom? Write down or draw or make a model of your wishes.

  • If you have rose in your garden, you can hang your wishes on the rose branches tonight for Khidr and Elijah finding it when they walk around in your garden tonight. Better if it is a solvable paper, so dews in the morning can just make it mix with nature. In the morning get those hanged on the rose branches and bury to soil or you can wake up early in the morning and throw your wishes to water if you are close to the sea.

  • You can collect morning dews to ferment your milk to have the first yogurt of the year.

Pray, celebrate, feel joy and love, look inside, look outside, feel gratitude and prepare a nice place in your life for Khidr to fill it, so that one becomes the servant of God while wondering around, one can become in love.

Happy Hıdırellez everybody.

Tell me in the comments if you celebrate it. If so, which are your rituals?

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