Turkish Roma celebrate Kakava Fest

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Turkish Thracian cities hosted the Romani feast of "Kakava" on May 5 and 6.

Believed to be related with the Turkish "Hıdrellez" and Orthodox St George's Day, Kakava also heralds the spring. Kakava ("caldron" in Romanes language) Fest is celebrated with a feast of lamb or goat meat, music, dance and a huge bonfire. Typically, families gather around water sources and release their wish-papers in the river or the spring. With the first rays of the sun, the revelers head to the river where they wash their face, a ritual believed to bring health and prosperity.

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The local Kakava fest has turned into an international festival in the city of Edirne, a Turkish city with a large Roma population. This year's festival was inaugurated by the mayor and the governor of the city, with the mayor Recep Gürkan saying, "Kakava is a Romani tradition. A Roma started the first Kakava bonfire a thousand years ago".

Although a local Romani festival, the event now attracts thousands of people from other cities, eager to experience the festive spring salutation. Kakava, included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, is vying for a permanent entry in the list.

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