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CULTURE -Turkey's mesir paste to be included in UNESCO Cultural Heritage List.

MANISA, Apr 5, 2011 (TUR) -- Turkey's mesir paste, a traditional spicy energizing supplement in the form of candy, will be included in UNESCO Cultural Heritage List next year, a senior Turkish official heralded on Tuesday.

"We must conserve and promote our tradition better. Our mesir festival and culture will be included in UNESCO's Cultural Heritage List in 2011," said Yuksel Ayhan, deputy governor of Manisa the hometown of the festival.

"We have made applications to be placed in the list," Ayhan said.

Mesir paste and culture will be the second Turkish tradition in UNESCO list after oil wrestling inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Mesir paste tradition is a very old tradition in the history of Manisa, an Anatolian city in the Aegean region, dating back to almost 500 years. Mesir paste was started as a medicine during the Ottoman period but later on it became an important part of local festivity in this city.

According to the story about the origins of mesir paste; Ayse Hafsa Sultan, who was the wife of Ottoman Sultan Yavuz Sultan Selim and the mother of Suleyman the Magnificent, became very ill and doctors couldn't find a cure. An Ottoman doctor mixed 41 different types of plants and spices together to form a medicinal paste and sent it to the palace. When Hafsa Sultan ate this paste, she recovered and wanted to share this miraculous medicine with others. As requests from the people increased, the paste was distributed to the people every year in a form of a festivity. The Mesir Celebration began this way around 1527-28.

Since then, every year in March, which is known as spring festival Nevruz, thousands of people gather in front of the Sultan Mosque in Manisa to catch a piece of the Mesir Paste wrapped in paper and thrown from mosque rooftop.


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Publication:Anadolu (Eskisehir, Turkey)
Date:Apr 5, 2011
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