Kurdish culture

Kurdish culture

Kurdish culture (Kurdish:کۆلتاری كوردی (Koltari Kurdi) or "çand û toreya kurdî") is a group of distinctive cultural traits practiced by Kurdish people. The Kurdish culture is a legacy from the various ancient peoples who shaped modern Kurds and their society, but primarily of two layers of indigenous (Hurrian),and of the ancient Iranic (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.Kurds have always been among the more moderate Muslims and as a result Kurdish women have faced less restrictions in wearing hijab or holding jobs outside home than other muslim women. [ [http://www.culturalorientation.net/kurds/krelig.html Cultural Orientation Resource Center ] ]


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. "Heyran"s are love ballads usually expressing the melancholy of separation and unfulfilled love. "Lawje" is a form of religious music and "Payizok"s 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 Encyclopaedia 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 [ [http://www.encislam.brill.nl/data/EncIslam/C4/COM-0544.html] Dead link|date=March 2008] .

Kurdish dance has various and numerous versions such as following:


Kurdish films mainly evoke poverty and the lack of rights of Kurdish people in the region. Yilmaz Guney (Yol) [ [http://www.amazon.com/dp/6302824435/ Amazon.com: Yol: Video: Tarik Akan,Serif Sezer,Halil Ergün,Meral Orhonsay,Necmettin Çobanoglu,Semra Uçar,Hikmet Çelik,Sevda Aktolga,Tuncay Akça,Hale Akinli,Turgut Savas,Engin Çelik,Hikmet Tasdemir,Osman Bardakçi,Enver Güney,Erdogan Seren,Yilmaz Güney,Serif Gören ] ] and Bahman Qubadi (A Time for Drunken Horses and Turtles Can Fly) are among the better known Kurdish directors.


Kurdish literature refers to the literature written in Kurdish language. Literary Kurdish works have been written in one of the three main dialects of Gorani, Kurmanji and Sorani. There is no existing evidence of Kurdish literature of pre-Islamic period. Some sources consider Ali Hariri (1425-1495) as the first well-known poet who wrote in Kurdish. He was from the Hakkari region [ [http://www.institutkurde.org/en/language/ The Kurdish Language and Literature ] ] .


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"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) [ [http://kurdistanica.com/english/religion/yazdani/yezidi/yezidi.html Keo - Religion ] ] . The Yarsan, or Ahl-e Haqq, religion is practised in western Iran, primarily around Kermanshah. There were also many Kurds who practised Zoroastrianism. [ [http://www.bostonreview.net/BR28.3/pocha.html Iran’s Other Religion ] ]

Also before arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD there were large Kurdish populations practising Christianity, still found in small numbers especially in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdish kingdom of Adiabene, including a large number of its Kurdish citizens, converted to Judaism during the 1st century BC. [ [http://www.kurdistanica.com/english/religion/judaism/judaism.html Keo - Religion ] ] "Tanna’it" Asenath Barzani, who lived in Mosul from 1590 to 1670 was among the very first Jewish women to carry an official tile normally reserved for rabbinic scholars.

In the 7th century, Arabs conquered the Kurdish regions and converted the majority of Kurds to Islam. The majority of Kurds 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 Kurds who are Agnostics.

Most Kurds have moderate tendencies toward religion. For instance, Kurdish women usually do not wear hijab or cover their face, differentiating themselves from many Arab and the women of Iran. [http://www.culturalorientation.net/kurds/krelig.html Cultural Orientation Resource Center ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3770621.stm BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Who's who in Iraq: Kurds ] ] [ [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/books/reviews/2721280.html] Dead link|date=March 2008] .


Some better known traditional Kurdish ceremonies or festivals include: Ceremony of Pir Shalyar, Buka Barana and Kurdish spring festival.

Cultural heritage

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. [ [http://www.bartleby.com/65/te/TepeGawr.html Tepe Gewre] , The Columbia Encyclopaedia, Sixth Edition.] 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 Encyclopaedia 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. [ [http://www.kurdistanica.com/english/history/origin-e.html Keo - History ] ] .

Fact|date=February 2007 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. [ [http://www.svf.uib.no/sfu/kurd-conf/invitation.htm The International Nordic-Kurdish Cultural Heritage Conference ] ]

ee also

*Culture of Iraq
*Culture of Iran
*Culture of Turkey
*Newroz as celebrated by Kurds


External links

* [http://www.middleeastuk.com/com/kcc/activities.htm Kurdish cultural center]
* [http://www.kurdistanica.com/english/history/origin-e.html History of the Kurds, Encyclopaedia Kurdistanica]
* [http://www.encislam.brill.nl/data/EncIslam/C4/COM-0544.html Kurds and Kurdistan, Encyclopaedia of Islam]
* [http://www.kurdistanica.com/english/history/articles-his/his-articles-05.html The First Documented Resettlement of Kurds into Western and Southwestern Anatolia circa 181 BC] , Mehrdad Izady.
* [http://www.institutkurde.org/en/institute/who_are_the_kurds.php A Brief Survey of the History of the Kurds] , by Kendal Nezan, President of the Kurdish Institute of Paris.

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