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Cayda Cira

Like many Turkish folk dances, Cayda cira is performed during weddings. Cayda cira is a story of bride being taken away from her parents to her new home with her new husband. The dance begins with the bride being "lost" and the wedding party searching for her by candlelight. Once the bride is found, the celebrations continue on to the wedding ceremony. A henna ceremony is performed for the bride at night, where the dancers form a large circle around the dancer holding candles on plates. The henna and the candles represent protection. There are separate henna ceremonies held for the bride and groom. The tradition varies in different regions. For instance, in Arapkir, only the women who are happy in marriage may perform the dance with lighted candles.

Is this activity known by any other names?

Halay; Candle Dance

What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

This dance form originated in the city of Elazig, in central-eastern Turkey.

Who takes part?

Cayda Cira is performed by both men and women, either separately or together.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

Performed at henna-painting celebrations and weddings.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?


Cultural Significance

The candles used in performing Cayda Cira represents the reflection of candles on the water, as the “Gelin Alayi” moves along the stream. "Gelin Alayi" is the procession in receiving the bride from her parents' home to her new husband’s home. Cayda Cira dances depict the preparation of the groom for his wedding. For females, Cayda Cira represents the henna night held for the bride before the wedding ceremony. Cayda Cira is also known worldwide as the most popular folk dance of Elazig-Harput culture.

Is there anything else we should know?




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