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    Historic festival winds up with rain of ’mesir’

    Doğan News Agency
    28.04.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    One of Turkey’s oldest festivals wrapped up in its reliably festive mood. The 469th edition of the International Mesir Festival of Manisa ends with the traditional mesir handing out ceremony, which leaves thousands of locals reaching out as high as they can to catch the ’miraculous’ paste, thrown from the top of a mosque to revive its history

    Once again, the historic festival dedicated to Manisa’s famous mesir paste ended in a way worthy of its festive mood: With the man-made rain of mesir paste on thousands of festival goers.

    The 469th International Mesir Festival of Manisa has ended with the traditional mesir paste handing out ceremony. Three tons of mesir paste, which is believed to be a cure-all medicine made of a blend of 41 spices, were handed out to the attendees who were approximately 10,000 in number.

    Usual parade precedes the guests’ visits
    The closing ceremony of the festival started with the usual parade. The parade preceded the honorary guests' visit to Manisa Governor Celalettin Güvenç. The guestlist included Melpomeni Korneti, ambassador of Macedonia; Emil Jacota, ambassador of Moldavia; Zubairy Muhmamed Yelwa, ambassador of Nigeria; Dr. Mohammed Al Hussaini Al Sharif, ambassador of Saudi Arabia; Ghazi Jomaa, ambassador of Tunisia; Vesna Jelaca, mayor of sister city Prijedor in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Siddig Mohammed Ali Elseihk, mayor of Khartum in northern of Sudan.

    After the visitations, it was time for the mesir cortege around noon.

    The cortege started at the governorship and extended to the Sultan Mosque. Alongside the governor, the cortege was attended by Cengiz Ergün, mayor of Manisa from the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP; Erkan Akçay and Mustafa Enöz, deputies of Manisa for MHP; Mehmet Çerçi, deputy of Manisa for the Justice and Development Party, or AKP; Ufuk Tanık, president of the Tourism Foundation of Promoting Manisa and Mesir and many residents of the city.

    Hand out begins
    The Mesir paste hand out begun after the noon prayer. The governor, the mayor and the deputies threw mesir to the public from the platform at the Sultan Mosque. Dozens of people faced the threat of being crushed among the crowd while trying to catch the health-giving paste as usual it is for every year. Mayor Siddig Mohammed Ali Elseihk, who caught nine pieces of paste, joked: "I already believe this paste is giving health, since it is so hard to get."

    The mesir paste is a product of deep-rooted traditions of the ancient cultures of Anatolia.

    Merkez Efendi, the first director of Dar al-Shifa, an ancient mental institution, is believed to have cured the incurable disease of Hafsa Sultan, wife of Selim I and mother of Suleiman the Magnificent, with mesir paste he prepared with 41 different spices. The mesir paste was used for the treatment of patients first, shortly before it became popular among the public since it is believed to be the cure of many diseases.

    Then it became a tradition to hand out the paste by throwing it to the crowds from the Sultan Mosque.





    What’s In a paste?

    w Allspice (Pimenta dioica)

    w Alpina officinarum root

    w Anise (Anisum vulgare)

    w Black cumin (Nigella sativa)

    w Black myrobalan (Terminalia nigra)

    w Black pepper (Piper nigrum)

    w Buckthorn (Nerprun alaterne)

    w Cardamon (Elettaria cardamomum)

    w Cassia (Cassia)

    w Chebulic myroblan (Terminalia chebula)

    w China root (Smilax china)

    w Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)

    w Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)

    w Coconut (Cocos nucifera)

    w Coriander (Coriandum sativum)

    w Cubeb (Cubebae fructus)

    w Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)

    w Dried orange blossom

    w Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

    w Galingale (Alpinia officinarum)

    w Ginger (Zingibar officinalis)

    w Iksir sugar

    w India blossom

    w Java pepper (Piper cubeba)

    w Licorice extract

    (Glycyrrhiza uralensis fisch)

    w Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

    w Mastic (Mastichum)

    w Millet (Pennisetum glaucum)

    w Myrrh (Commiphora Molmol)

    w Muskroot (Adoxa moschatellina)

    w Mustard seed (Brassica nigra)

    w Orange peel

    w Rhubarb (Rheum Palmatum)

    w Saffron (Crocus Orientalis)

    w Citric acid

    w Senna (Cassia senna)

    w Turmeric (Curcuma domestica)

    w Udulkahr

    w Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia)

    w Woad (Isatis)

    w Yellow myrobalan (Fructus myrobalani)
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