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Green Man Dates

Green Man Dates
 
1 July
There is a steady flow of pilgrims to these shrines throughout the year, with the heaviest attendance on July 1, the day on which farmers bring their flocks to be baptized in the sea.

At Arsuz (between Antioch and Iskenderun) 20,000 to 30,000 people participate in this daylong ceremony that climaxes when the salt water turns fresh and everyone wades into the sea, leading approximately a quarter of a million head of livestock. It is an annual fertility rite enacted in high religious fervor. One of our informants who had attended this ceremony at Arsuz testified with solemn oath to the miracle that occurred that day: “By Allah, out there I drank the sea water, and it was as sweet as sherbet.” (By way of parenthesis, it may be observed here that collecting information about rites of this type is usually difficult and often dangerous. Orthodox Islam is strongly opposed to the elevation of Hizir from the role of a saint to that of a god, and thus much of the ritual of the cult has been driven underground, open only to the initiate. Furthermore, many of the larger shrines are controlled by communities of the minority Shi’ite or Alevi sect, which is fiercely pro­tective of the secrecy of all its forms of worship. On July 1, armed guards are posted for miles along the shore to prevent other Moslems and Christian infidels from witnessing the fertility ceremony.)

http://khidr.org/hizir.htm

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