San Diego Comic-Con International is a multigenre entertainment and comic convention held annually in San Diego, California, United States. The name, as given on its website, is Comic-Con International: San Diego; but it is commonly known simply as Comic-Con or the San Diego Comic-Con or “SDCC”.
It was founded as the Golden State Comic Book Convention in 1970 by a group of San Diegans that included Shel Dorf, Richard Alf, Ken Krueger, and Mike Towry; later, it was called the “San Diego Comic Book Convention”. It is a four-day event (Thursday–Sunday) held during the summer (in July since 2003) at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego. On the Wednesday evening prior to the official opening, professionals, exhibitors, and pre-registered guests for all four days can attend a pre-event “Preview Night” to give attendees the opportunity to walk the exhibit hall and see what will be available during the convention.
Comic-Con International also produces two other conventions, WonderCon, held in Anaheim, and the Alternative Press Expo (APE), held in San Francisco. Since 1974, Comic-Con has bestowed its annual Inkpot Award on guests and persons of interest in the popular arts industries, as well as on members of Comic-Con’s board of directors and the Convention committee. It is also the home of the Will Eisner Awards.
Originally showcasing primarily comic books and science fiction/fantasy related film, television, and similar popular arts, the convention has since included a larger range of pop culture and entertainment elements across virtually all genres, including horror, animation, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels. According to Forbes, the convention is the “largest convention of its kind in the world;” Publishers Weekly wrote “Comic-Con International: San Diego is the largest show in North America; it is also the largest convention held in San Diego. In 2010, it filled the San Diego Convention Center to capacity with more than 130,000 attendees. In addition to drawing huge crowds, the event holds several Guinness World Records including the largest annual comic and pop culture festival in the world.
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest (beer festival). Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, it is a 16- to 18-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year. Locally, it is often called the Wiesn, after the colloquial name for the fairgrounds, Theresa’s meadows (Theresienwiese). The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since the year 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations that are modeled after the original Munich event.
During the event, large quantities of Oktoberfest Beer are consumed: during the 16-day festival in 2013, for example, 7.7 million litres were served. Visitors also enjoy numerous attractions, such as amusement rides, side stalls and games. There is also a wide variety of traditional foods available.
The Munich Oktoberfest originally took place in the 16-day period leading up to the first Sunday in October. In 1994, this longstanding schedule was modified in response to German reunification. As such, if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or the 2nd, then the festival would run until 3 October (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival now runs for 17 days when the first Sunday is 2 October and 18 days when it is 1 October. In 2010, the festival lasted until the first Monday in October (4 October), to mark the event’s bicentennial.
The Mevlevi (followers of Mevlâna Jelaleddin Rumî), or Whirling Dervishes, are alive and well in Turkey.
Their spellbinding worship service, the Mevlevi sema, has dervishes in long white dresses whirling ecstatically for a quarter hour at a time to the drone of ancient Islamic hymns.
The sema (seh-MAH) is derived from Rumî’s habit of occasionally whirling in ecstatic joy in the streets of Konya, capital of the Seljuk Turkish Sultanate of Rum, and his home for the greater part of his life. It is perhaps the most familiar aspect of Sufism (Islamic mysticism).
After the death of Rumî in 1273, the Mevlevi (mehv-leh-VEE) order spread throughout the Seljuk and Ottoman empires.
Though all dervish orders were closed shortly after the foundation of the Turkish Republic, the Mevlevi were soon allowed to reform as a “cultural organization,” perhaps because they were not overtly political and reactionary as were some other orders.
The prime event is the annual Mevlana Commemoration Festival (Mevlâna Anma Törenleri, Şeb-i Aruz) held at the Mevlana Cultural Center in Konya during the first half of December. Because hotel rooms are fully booked months in advance, the best way to attend is on a Rumi Tour.
However, you may also be able to witness whirling, and perhaps even a proper sema, in Konya near (but not in) the Mevlana Cultural Center: a modern shopping-and-restaurant complex near the museum arranges whirling sometimes.