As part of the opening ceremony of the festival, Afro-Turks gathered on Kıbrıs Şehitleri Caddesi, which is the most popular and busiest street in the port city, marched and danced in their traditional clothes.
Participants wearing calf masks also drew the attention of residents and tourists with their colorful costumes. The march of the cortege ended with enthusiastic melodies and dances performed by an Afro-Turkish rhythm and dance band.
Konak Mayor Abdül Batur said that Konak is a district where people of all colors and cultures live in peace and that he was proud of it.
Giving a concert as part of the festival, Afro-Turkish singer Melis Sökmen also thanked Batur for his support to Dana Bayramı, which is celebrated for the 14th time this year.
“The combination of colors makes our country stronger,” she said.
According to Turkish experts’ studies, there are about 20,000 to 25,000 Afro-Turks in Turkey, who were brought from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Libya and Egypt mostly during the 16th century for various reasons such as agricultural work and military service.
They have mainly assimilated into the Turkish-Muslim community, but a couple of villages with predominant African-Turkish populations still exist in the valleys of the Büyük Menderes River and the Küçük Menderes River in the Aegean province.
Hurriyet Daily News