Rumi Anniversary/Poet’s Chocolates Discovered – Poetry News Roundup December 22nd

Today in our poetry news round-up, we look at the 747th anniversary of the death of Rumi and the story behind a very old box of chocolates.

Commemoration of Rumi

At the end of last week, on the occasion of the 747th anniversary of his death, a ceremony was held to commemorate the poet Jalal al-Din Rumi. The event, which would normally have been open to the public, was streamed this year due to the pandemic.

This is one of the most important occasions on the literary calendar in Turkey. Every year visitors from every country in the world gather in Central Anatolia in order to pay homage to the memory of Rumi. Each year the celebrations take place on the 17th December the date of his death. This is, in fact, the second ceremony that takes place for Rumi. It is referred to as Seb-I-Arus and it has been included by UNESCO on their List of Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The poetry of Rumi is thought to be amongst some of the most popular poetry in the USA. Recently the poet has become the bestselling poet there and his poems are often heard at wedding celebrations, both in the USA and all over the world. His work has been compared to that of William Shakespeare in regard to its creative vein, and for his spiritual wisdom, he has often been likened to St Francis of Assisi.

Discovery of 120-Year-Old Box of Chocolates in Australia

A group of conservators working at the National Library of Australia has uncovered what is thought to be one of the oldest boxes of chocolates in the world. The box is 120 years old and dates back to the Boer War.

The tin was located at the bottom of a crate of papers that had originated from the Estate of Banjo Peterson, the Australian bush poet. Despite their age, the chocolates were in surprisingly good condition and still had the remnants of the silver foil and straw that had been used to protect them.

The discovery was something of a surprise to the conservators, who were not expecting to find much beyond papers in the box which was full of newspaper clippings, diaries, and poetry.

The old tin of chocolates which had a rather “interesting” smell, had belonged to the poet and still had the chocolates wrapped inside much as they would have been when it was first put together. There was nothing in the rest of the crate to suggest why Banjo might have had the chocolates or indeed why he might not have eaten them.

Patterson was a war correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald, and shipped to South Africa in 1899. He returned the following year. It is suspected that he purchased the tin from a member of the troops and shipped them home to protect the contents from the heat.

At the time, the chocolates were the subject of some controversy. The Queen commissioned them from Cadbury who were pacifists and did not want anything to do with the war.

The library will now be cataloguing the contents of the boxes they received last year and are only cataloguing them with the help of the general public who have crowdfunded the $150,000 that is needed for the work.

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