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Whirling Dervishes are partof Sufism

Since you asked

Reading the Tempo, I see that the Whirling Dervishes performed in Ashland. What is a Whirling Dervish, anyway?

' Linda W., Rogue River

OK, Linda, we'll give this a whirl (sorry, couldn't resist).

The Whirling Dervishes trace their origin to the 13th century Ottoman Empire. The Dervishes, also known as the Mevlevi Order, are Sufis, a spiritual offshoot of Islam.

They're so called because of their whirling dances in ecstatic spiritual devotion.

In 1972, Jelaluddin Loras, sheikh of the Mevlevi Order of America, brought the religion from Turkey to the United States.

On Tuesday, Dec. 17, Whirling Dervishes across the world commemorate the death of Jelaluddin Mevlana Rumi, a mystic poet, who founded the Mevlevi Order.

If you'd like to see them in action, check out this Web site, from which the above information was taken:

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to