Union of Turkish World Municipalities (TDBB) provided financial support for the 508th Ajvatovica Festival held in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 17 June and 01 July 2018.
Besides tourists, local governors, politicians, non-governmental organizations from Turkey the festival was attended by the Bosniak member at the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegović, Prime Minister of BiH Denis Zvizdić, Vice President of the House of Representatives Sefik Dzaferovic, Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina Husejin Kavazovic and other citizens.
In order to participate in the longest-running program in the country, more than 300 horsemen who came from different cities have arrived before the noon to the area where the program was held. Despite the heavy rain thousands of people who occupied the area since the early hours of the morning greeted horsemen who have arrived to the spot with the traditional costumes.
Following the arrival of the horsemen, accompanied by the standard-bearers, the rocky area where according to the legend the drought has occurred 508 years ago was visited. The drought has gone after Ayvaz Dede’s praying for the water for forty days. Thousands of people prayed in this place where according to the belief the rock was halved after which water started flowing.
Those who came to perform Islamic daily prayer watched with the great interest the Sufi-Mevlevi ritual performed by the crew from Bursa Karabaş-i Veli Culture Center and the Janissary Corp march performed by the Turkish Armed Forces.
Husejin Kavazovic, the Grand Mufti of the Islamic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said in his speech that beside Muslims from the region Muslims living in the European countries and the United States have attended the festival as well. “Today we gathered in front of our spiritual assembly. We came to improve our intentions, our direction and our prays. We came to improve our ‘Bosnian dream’ in peace. ” Kavazovic emphasized that Ayvaz Dede’s trip to the mountains for 40 days and 40 nights to find the water is a reflection of the power and unity of Bosnian Muslims. He said, “every year we come here and repair our power and show it to everyone.”
508th Ajvatovica festival ended with the prayer performed by the Ahmed Adilovic, the Mufti of the Travnik, that was followed by the Islamic noon prayer.
This festival is organized to commemorate Ayvaz Dede, an Anatolian holy man from Akhisar. According to the legend after praying for 40 days a rock that was preventing water to flow, thus causing drought, halved. This the largest Islamic festival in Europe, attended by 100 thousand people (the closing ceremony was attended by 10-20 thousand people), that is organized since the Ottoman presence in the Balkans (it was forbidden between 1947 and 1990).
For one month, 90 different events such as scientific forums, conferences, book introductions, artistic exhibitions, religious music concerts, sports events, traditional horse riding, folk dances were performed. Festival was organized by 13 different municipalities and Muftiates of (Travnik, Bugojno, Jajce, Busovača, Donji Vakuf, Novi Travnik, Vitez, Livno, Duvno, Prnjavor, Zenica, and Prusac).
Because of the request from the Bosnian member Municipality of Travnik Ajvatovica Festival is financially supported by the TDBB since 2015.