(Iran Ethnicities in Details – Part 2 – Kurd Ethnicity)
Welcome to part 2 of Iranian ethnicities. The second but probably one of the most known ethnicities in Iran is Iranian Kurds. Many people in Iran know them by their baggy pants, their unique dance style with their happy songs. Most Iranians’ common concept of a Kurd other than their baggy pants, is a man with a big mustache and a turban. And fortunately, it is not irrelevant.
Kurds are brave people. Every now and then we hear about their braveries not only in the past but also nowadays. Since I remember Kurds always have had the tendency to be independent of the government and wanted to be on their own. Fortunately or unfortunately they have not been successful by now. If you travel to Kurdistan you might witness some of them carrying guns. But this decreases none from the love they share with other people all over the world. Their passion and affection are appreciable. Kurds have protected our borders like all times especially in the war with Iraq.
Mainly they live in Kurdistan province. But a proper number live in other provinces like West Azerbaijan, Kermanshah, Ilam, and parts of Lorestan Province.
Iranian Kurds’ History and Language
Kurds are a Middle-Eastern Ethnicity living in the west part of Iran plateau. Iranian Kurds speak Kurdish the same language they speak to Turkish, Iraqi, and Syrian Kurds. Kurdish is a semi-formal language and has two major dialects; North Kermnji and South Kermanji or Surani. Other dialects of Kurdish are spoken more or less.
In general, Kurds are Sunni Muslims but a lot of Shia Kurds live in Ilam, Kermanshah, and Lorestan, too. In 1514, in the Battle of Chaldiran, Iran lost many lands including where Kurds lived. That’s why nowadays Other than Iran, Kurds live in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq.
Where Iranian Kurds live is mainly highlands, Zagros Mountains. They have cold and snow-covered mountains in winter, and green lands, and pleasant weather in spring. The area is one of the most touristic attractions in Iran.
Characters and Traits of Iranian Kurds
Bravery and Warriorhood
Kurds have experienced the bitter taste of war many times and every time have been so courageous and potent. As I mentioned they have always been the saviors of our borders and we owe this to their association and solidarity.
As I learn more about Iranian ethnicities I notice hospitality is a trait you can find all around Iran. Some Kurds believe they should not ask any questions from their guest for up to 40 days. Any questions that might trigger this thought that they are surprised or upset by their guest’s stay. According to them, Kurds should be ready for guests with open arms, anytime, even though it is for a long time.
Nobility and Chivalry
Chivalry is one of the bold traits of Iranian Kurds. Ayyârân were people like Robinhood, stole from the rich and dedicated to the poor. Many of them were Kurds. Ayyârân helped some Iranian kings as their soldiers to defeat the enemies. Yet Kurds call their spiritual people “Yârsân” and believe their religion is “Yâri”, helping others.
Kurds’ lives are deeply associated with dance, music, and celebrations. They are just looking for an excuse to throw a party and have fun. Kurds, Gils, and Mazani people are the happiest people of Iran.
Celebrations of Iranian Kurds
Let me introduce some most popular Kurdish celebrations for you.
Plangan is a stepped village. The beauty of this stepped village is doubled because of the river going through it. The houses are on both sides. 20 days before the new year young men and women wearing their colorful traditional dresses, climb down the roofs in disciplined lines, like the military marching down. Each holds a torch in their hand. When all join together on the lowest spot of the village, they set a fire. Then they sing the Kurdish Noruz song and dedicate it to the river. The celebration will go on dancing and singing Kurdish songs around the fire.
Helâveh-Melâveh – Kurdish Halloween
I was really surprised to know since a long time ago Halloween has been in Iran almost in every city but with a different name. On the night of the new year, Kurds especially kids would knock on the doors of their neighbors and sing a song starting with Helaveh-Melaveh including good wishes for them and their families and get gifts in return. In the past the most precious gift they could get was eggs. Because eggs were the symbol of rebirth and new life.
Aroosi Pirshâliyar – Uraman Village
Every year in the middle of winter and spring Uraman Village is the host of many Iranian and foreign tourists to visit this ancient traditional celebration. This tradition goes back to 1000 years ago. People get together to sacrifice a sheep, pray to their God, and pay their gratitude. Tambourine and their unique dance of the Pirshaliyar celebration doubles the beauty of it.
Iranian Kurdish Foods
Here are a few Kurdish foods you might like.
Shelikineh, Bersâgh, and Kelâneh are delicious Kurdish bread. Shelikineh is the bread most tourists take it back home as a souvenir.
Iranian Kurds bake Bersâgh bread mainly in Ramadan.
And about Kelâneh, those who love fast-food will love this, too. It is like a pizza. They add some veggies to the Dough.
Rivas means rhubarb. The mountains are full of new fresh herbs and as it sounds the main vegetable is rhubarb. The stew looks like Ghormeh Sabzi with different veggies and a sour taste.
They cook it with Spear Thistle from the mountains. And as it grows in Spring it is a spring specialty. In other months of the year, they make it with celery. After preparing the Spear Thistle or celery, they put it in a sauce made of egg, saffron, butter, and flour and then deep-fry it.
Gazaneh Aush – Nettles Aush
To make this they boil barley and wheat in “dough”, a watery yogurt product, and then add some herbs like gazaneh, pennyroyal, and ziziphora to give it a good fragrance and taste.
Rice, eggs, Chickpea, meat, onion, garlic, and some herbs are the ingredients. Turks have an Aush like this and call it Aush-e Dough.
Iranian Kurds’ Clothing
As you know every occasion has its own dressing. It is exactly true about different Iranian ethnicities. But generally, women wear a long dress with long sleeves and a vest on top. They wear scarves. Women’s clothes are embroidered with beads, old coins, and other shiny stuff to add to its beauty.
Men wear baggy pants with plain shirts and a jacket on top. They wrap a sash belt around their waist and a turban around their head.