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Prizren's Dervish Fakirs: The Newroz ...
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
08 Jul 2015

Ancient Shiite rituals were brought into the Balkans in the 15th century during the Ottoman invasion and dominion and have been kept intact up till our day, representing a parallel and very deep-rooted Islam amongst the people. In the town of Prizren in Kosovo there is the tariqa Rufai. To celebrate the Newroz, or Nevruz, the beginning of the new year which coincides with the arrival of spring, all the dervishes in the area meet up here to celebrate a propitiatory ritual. The ritual lasts five hours and is extremely exacting. The followers must go through a great test of physical and mental exertion. The dervishes pray, dance and sing and try to attain a state of trance. At the culmination of the ritual the feats of Fakirism take place. Whilst some of the dervishes play and sing, the shaikh takes long skewers and begins to pierce the mouths of the dervishes who willingly undergo this test, beginning with the children. The older dervishes, the braver and more expert, are pierced with a real sword. A blade is placed on their throat and the shaikh climbs on top of it. The ritual ends when the dervishes remove the skewers. Just a few drops of blood appear on their cheeks.

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Dervishes of Prizren 02
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A young dervish with his piercing, proudly shown. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 20
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervishes sitting around in the tekke, praying. Visitors are aside.

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Dervishes of Prizren 26
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dancing all togheter.

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Dervishes of Prizren 28
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The leader schaik of the Rufaì sekt in Prizren, Sheikh Xhemali Shehu is taking the pins.

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Dervishes of Prizren 27
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The schaik gives the typical kiss before the piercing. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 30
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Piercing the mouth of a young dervish. The schaik of the sekt is starting the fakirism ritual with the youngest dervishes.

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Dervishes of Prizren 31
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A young dervish with his piercing, proudly shown. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 32
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu going to pierce a young dervish with a pin.

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Dervishes of Prizren 33
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu going to pierce a dervish with a pin.

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Dervishes of Prizren 34
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu's nephew proud to show his pin in his mouth. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 35
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin in his mouth. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 37
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Elder dervishes having some relax and smoking after the celebration, sitting on their typical lamb carpets in the tekke.

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Dervishes of Prizren 38
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin right in the instant of self-piercing his mouth. You can see the pin coming out from inside his mouth. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 39
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin in his mouth. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 40
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish with his huge pin rotating it on his throat. The pin goes down for some centimeters. No sofference, no pain, no bleeding, dervishes are proud of their traditions. The pin is a symbol of courage and the piercing demonstrated that the dervishes are brave.

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Dervishes of Prizren 42
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. End of celebration, piercings have been removed, few marks on the proud faces of the dervishes witness the fakirism proof.

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Dervishes of Prizren 43
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu checking the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 44
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A young dervish is going to stand on the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 45
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Scheik Xhemali Shehu's nephew with his pin in his mouth, not satisfied is carried around standing on the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 46
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. An elder dervish is getting ready for the proof of the sword.

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Dervishes of Prizren 47
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The scheik is standing on the sward, placed on the throat of an elder dervish which is proud of this proof.

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Dervishes of Prizren 48
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. An elder dervish weakened by the pain of the sword proof.

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Dervishes of Prizren 50
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervishes dancing in a circle during the dance phase to prepare themselves for the piercing ritual.

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Dervishes of Prizren 53
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Typical albanian-kosovar huts of the dervish hung at the entrance of the teqe.

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Dervishes of Prizren 52
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
19 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The pins of the dervishes, kept in the typical niche. The short ones are for the boys, the long ones for the expert dervishes.

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Dervishes of Prizren 03
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz) beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The inside of the teqe. Dervishes are sitting and listening to the schaik praying, women are watching from the gallery.

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Dervishes of Prizren 04
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The teqe, dervishes listening to the schaik and his family praying and leading the ceremony, women are watching from the gallery.

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Dervishes of Prizren 05
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The teqe, dervishes are praying and listening to the schaik.

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Dervishes of Prizren 06
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The schaik and his family praying and leading the ceremony.

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Dervishes of Prizren 07
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Dervishes praying

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Dervishes of Prizren 08
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish giving candies as a sign of hospitality but also as a energy source for the effort of the long ceremony.

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Dervishes of Prizren 09
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A young dervish taking candies as a sign of hospitality but also as a energy source for the effort of the long ceremony.

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Dervishes of Prizren 10
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. A dervish taking candies as a sign of hospitality but also as a energy source for the effort of the long ceremony.

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Dervishes of Prizren 11
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The leader schaik of the Rufaì sekt in Prizren, Sheikh Xhemali Shehu.

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Dervishes of Prizren 12
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals.

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Dervishes of Prizren 13
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. Sheikh Xhemali Shehu's nephew.

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Dervishes of Prizren 14
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The teqe, dervishes are sitting and listening to the schaik praying, women are watching from the gallery.

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Dervishes of Prizren 15
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The leader schaik of the Rufaì sekt in Prizren, Sheikh Xhemali Shehu speeching.

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Dervishes of Prizren 16
Prizren, Kosovo
By Michele Pero
18 Apr 2009

Prizren, Kosovo. Rufaì sekt. Fakir dervishes celebrating the Newroz (Nevruz), the beginning of the new year with fakirism rituals. The typical albanian kosovar wool-made hat.