1st Istanbul International Geography Congress Proceedings Book
Geographical traces on giresun aksu festival ritualsGülşah Doğanay
Geographical environment has important impacts that shape peoples’ lives. Effects of natural and human elements cannot be ignored in creation and structuring of the material and moral cultural values. People affect and get affected by natural and human elements in their geographical environment. In this study, use of geographical elements like “rock”, “water”, “stone”, “island”, “iron” and “fire” within the scope of “Giresun Aksu festival” as well as the origins and reasons of enshrining of these elements throughout the history were examined from a cultural geographical perspective. This is a qualitative study based on data derived from observations and interviews held during the festival as well as from document analysis. Information was obtained from persons in charge of preparing and presenting the rites and from local people who practice these rites. During the festival, the author attended the rituals as a participant observer and took photographs. The data was assessed through content analysis method. The evaluation of the findings indicate that the rites were formed by the cultural elements with deep historical roots as well as the geography in which the practitioners live. Inclusion of the Giresun island, one of the most important islands of the Black Sea, in the rituals and moving the “water rituals which are actually, mostly practiced in water flows, to a location where the water joins the sea” are good examples of re-shaping the cultural values coming from different historical backgrounds and geographical roots according to the new place of living. On the other hand, a rock called “Hamza’s Stone” is located in Giresun island. This stone has a different shape, color and positioning than the other “ordinary” ones and constitutes a good example of mystification of different geographical elements by local people and an important part of the rites practiced therein. The mystic value attached to geographical elements such as the “sea”, “island”, “river”, “rock”, “iron” and “fire” during the rites, was interpreted as the pictures and meanings formed in the moral world of the people reflecting the bond between the human and the nature.