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Kurdish culture: Wikis


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Kurdish culture (Kurdish:کولتووری كوردی (Kulturi Kurdi) or çand û toreya kurdî) is a group of distinctive cultural traits practiced by Kurdish people. The Kurdish culture is a legacy from ancient peoples who shaped modern Kurds and their society, but primarily of two layers of indigenous (Hurrian),and of the ancient (Medes).

The Kurdish culture is close to that of other Iranian peoples; for example all of them celebrate Newroz as the new year day, which is celebrated on March 21.



Şivan Perwer, giving concert in Sweden, 2005

Traditionally, there are three types of Kurdish Classical performers - storytellers (çîrokbêj), minstrels (stranbêj) and bards (dengbêj). There was no specific music related to the Kurdish princely courts, and instead, music performed in night gatherings (şevbihêrk) is considered classical. Several musical forms are found in this genre. Many songs and are epic in nature, such as the popular Lawik's which are heroic ballads recounting the tales of Kurdish heroes of the past like Saladin. Heyrans are love ballads usually expressing the melancholy of separation and unfulfilled love. Lawje is a form of religious music and Payizoks are songs performed specifically in autumn. Love songs, dance music, wedding and other celebratory songs (dîlok/narînk), erotic poetry and work songs are also popular.


Kurdish dance is a group of traditional hand-holding dances similar to those from the Balkans, Lebanon, and to Iraq. It is a form of round dancing, with a single or a couple of figure dancers often added to the geometrical centre of dancing circle.

According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, Kurds sing and dance in all of their festivals, birthdays and marriage ceremonies. These folkloric dances are one of the main factors in distinguishing Kurds from neighbouring Muslim populations.[1]

Kurdish dance has various and numerous versions such as following:


Kurdish rugs are rugs woven by the Kurdish people in the Middle East and the southernmost Caucasus.

They are stout and solid in structure, usually made in symmetrical knotting upon a woolen foundation.


Main articles: Cultural Muslim, Yazidism, Yarsan, Yazdanism, Kurdish Jews, Kurdish Christians
The Great Mosque of Diyarbakir is the oldest and one of the most significant mosques in Anatolia. Following the Muslim conversion of Diyarbakir (Amed) in 639, the St Thomas Church (built in 629) was used in part as a mosque. The church was eventually fully converted to a mosque; repaired 1092

Before the spread of Islam in the 7th century CE, the majority of Kurds practised their indigenous religions, which today are referred to as Yazdanism. Yazidism and Yarsan, which may have stemmed from and eventually replaced those religions, are still practised among the Kurds. Most Yazidis live in Iraqi Kurdistan, in the vicinity of Mosul and Sinjar. Yazidis are also found in Syria, Armenia, Turkey, and Germany. Their holy book is "Mishefa Reş" (The Black Book).[2] The Yarsan, or Ahl-e Haqq, religion is practised in western Iran, primarily around Kermanshah. There were also many Kurds who practised Zoroastrianism.[3]

Before the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, a large part of the Kurdish population practised Christianity. Kurdish Christians can still be found in small numbers, especially in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdish kingdom of Adiabene, together with a large number of its Kurdish citizens, converted to Judaism during the 1st century BC.[4] Tanna’it Asenath Barzani, who lived in Mosul from 1590 to 1670 was among the very first Jewish women to carry an official title normally reserved for rabbinic scholars.

Malak Ta’us, the peacock angel of Yazidism religion

In the 7th century, Arabs conquered the Kurdish regions and converted the majority of Kurds to Islam. The majority of Kurds today are Muslim, belonging to the Shafi school of Sunni Islam, distinguishing them in the region, (and to a much lesser degree, the Hanafi) Schools of Sunni Islam. There is also a significant minority of Kurds that are Shia Muslims, primarily living in the Ilam and Kermanshah provinces of Iran and Central Iraq ("Al-Fayliah" Kurds). The Alevis are another religious minority among the Kurds, mainly found in Turkey. There are also Kurdish Agnostics.

Most Kurds have moderate tendencies toward religion. .[5][6][7]


Some better known traditional Kurdish ceremonies or festivals include:

Pir Shalyar,
Buka Barana

Legendary characters include:

Kawa and Dehak

Cultural heritage

Hasankeyf on the Tigris River

Kurdish cultural heritage is rooted in one of the world's oldest cultures, With regard to the origin of the Kurds, it was formerly considered sufficient to describe them as the descendants of the Carduchi, who opposed the retreat of the Ten Thousand through the mountains in the 4th century BC. However, there is evidence of more ancient settlements in the region of Kurdistan. The earliest known evidence of a unified and distinct culture (and possibly, ethnicity) by people inhabiting the Kurdish mountains dates back to the Halaf culture of 6,000 BC to 5,400 BC. This was followed by the spread of the Ubaidian culture, which was a foreign introduction from Mesopotamia. In 1927, Ephraim Speiser discovered remains of ancient Halaf and Ubaid settlements in Tepe Gewre (Great Mound) 24 km northeast of Mosul. These settlements date back to between the 5th and 2nd millennium B.C., and include 24 levels of civilizations including Halaf and Ubaid. This site includes an acropolis with monumental remains and fine architecture.[8] In their own histories, they are proud to mention the Hurrian period in the mid third millennium BC as the earliest well documented period. The 3rd millennium was the time of the Guti and Hattians. The 2nd and 1st millennium BC were the time of the Kassites, Mitanni, Mannai (Mannaeans), Urartu, and Mushku. All of these peoples shared a common identity and spoke one language or closely related languages or dialects. These groups are thought to have been non-Indo-Europeans, apart from the original Mitanni leadership. Kurds consider themselves to be Indo-European as well as descendants of the above groups. According to the Encyclopedia Kurdistanica, Kurds are the descendants of all those who have historically settled in Kurdistan, not of any one particular group. A people such as the Guti (Kurti), Mede, Mard, Carduchi(Gordyaei), Adiabene, Zila and Khaldi signify not the ancestor of the Kurds but only one ancestor.[9][10][citation needed] This heritage has been subject to injustices, neglect and repression, or has been eclipsed by other cultures. Important components of the original cultural heritage have disappeared or have been destroyed. There are numerous examples of how valuable or irreplaceable Kurdish physical heritage are endangered or destroyed, like the threat posed by the Illusi Dam in Kurdistan (Turkey), where the oldest Kurdish city, Hasankeyf, soon is to be covered by water.[11]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Iran’s Other Religion". Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Cultural Orientation Resource Center". Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  6. ^ "Who's who in Iraq: Kurds". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Tepe Gewre, The Columbia Encyclopaedia, Sixth Edition.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "History of the Kurds, Encyclopedia Kurdistanica". 
  11. ^ "The International Nordic-Kurdish Cultural Heritage Conference". Retrieved 2008-10-22. 

External links



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