Travel

An ode to the tulips of Istanbul

The Tulip Festival in Istanbul at Emirgan Park every April is an event none would like to miss!! Sadly due to the Coronavirus pandemic this year as I feared the beautiful tulip festival of Istanbul was cancelled. To bring the spirit of spring and the wonderful festival to the world again this year I pay a tribute to the festival of flowers which has enchanted millions before and I hope it can be a beacon of hope that one day the world will heal.

Every year from 1st April to the 30th tulips of all colours and varieties bloom in the gardens of the large Emirgan Park. Tulips are the national emblem of Turkey. You see them everywhere as insignias all around Turkish labels, brands and as a symbol of the country and of Istanbul city. Usually in water marbling paintings of Turkey tulips come as a recurring theme and emblem. One would except tulips to be more specific to Netherlands but factually tulips were imported from Turkey to the Dutch country sometime during the late Ottoman Period.

Emirgan Tulip Festival

Tulips are not only a beautiful flower usually occuring in colder climates they have a deep significance in spiritually and mysticism too. This marks it’s special place in the religious and cultural heritage of Turkey. A Turkish friend explained to me that the tulip is used as a representation of God in His oneness as the tulip grows as a single flower from each stem. It doesn’t bloom in bunches of flowers together rather as an individual slender flower. This is viewed as the singularity and oneness of the Creator thus serving as a monotheistic attribute.

I remember the time I had visited the tulip festival late in April, most of the flowers had already wilted but I was so carefree and ecstatic at the prospect of making it to the festival that I still enjoyed to my fullest anyway. Looking back at the photographs makes me feel how absolutely happy-go-lucky I was. I had a whimsical idea of life and beauty and I was always extraordinarily happy, and now with the pain and loss of my dearest relative and the looming doom of the coronavirus with future uncertainty, financial woes I wonder If I or anyone in the world will truly ever be able to be happy again and travel to discover new adventures the way people would before the pandemic.

I hope and I pray that the tulips of Istanbul will be able to bloom again for the people of the metropolitan city and that in the opening of flowers and in the regeneration of life every spring we can all find peace and comfort. This April I hope that even though the dedicated gardners of Istanbul may not have been able to plant the tulips buds but yet in the wild the tulips would bloom in their full glory and be a comfort to anyone who stumbles upon them.

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