More Turkish delight for sweet Stoke Newington

Turkey fest in Stoke Newington Lon N16 June 2011

THE SOUNDS, sights and smells of Turkey will float across Hackney this and the next weekend as the Anatolian Cultural Fete comes to Clissold Park.

Whirling dervishes, Ottoman marching bandsmen, oil-wrestling, a chef-led cooking contest, traditional pottery, henna sessions… hang on, that’s what I wrote about the festival in Stoke Newington N4 2EY last June.

But there are a few differences in this sixth event, not least the claim by organiser the Anatolia Community Association that it is “the biggest cultural event in the UK”, a claim that might surprise those behind the Notting Hill carnival.

Theatrical performances will be given, and a tent put up by yörüks (literally walkers… what we might call travellers) will offer ayran (a yogurt drink similar to lassi). Marbling, handicrafts, calligraphy and ornamentation displays and demonstrations will be held in the arts marquees. Examples of handicrafts from the regions are also exhibited in these marquees. Memorably, lots of Turkish delight was being gobbled up at no charge.

The picture above shows one of the whirling dervishes, also known as Mevlevi. They are Sufis who aim for a state of religious ecstasy by dancing; sort of Shoreditch without Ecstasy.

The festival aims to bridge cultural and ethnic gaps. Hence last year’s opening ceremony was attended by Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier, Stokey resident Baroness Hussein-Ece and other local representatives. During the week, the festival will stage activities in local schools.

David Altheer 170612

* Anatolian Cultural Fete, SW corner, Clissold Park, Hackney N4 2EY, Sat 23 June 2012, Sun 24 June and Sat 30 June, Sun 1 July, events starting around lunchtime and ending at 6pm. Programme: press this hyperlink

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