Kurdish Culture

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  • Topic: Iraq, Kurdish people, Iraqi Kurdistan
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Kurdish Culture
Anita Palomo
Anthropology 101
Mr. Steven Sager
January 21, 2013

Kurdish Culture
The Kurdish people are an indigenous ethnic minority found in the country of Iraq, also in parts of Turkey, North West Iran and smaller areas of North East Syria and Armenia. Ethnically parallel to the Iranians, the Kurds in the past traditionally nomadic herders but are currently mostly seminomadic. The majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslims. The Kurds are the most populated ethnic group in the world that does not have their own independent country. The Kurds, one day may become independent, but there are still numerous issues that are unresolved in a region saturated with war and disagreements over coveted natural resources (oil). Prior to the Iraq war in 2003, very little was known about the Kurds and their culture. The Kurds were so welcoming to the US troops due to their long time fight for equality prior to the US troops intervening. The Kurds have a very interesting culture. The Kurds culture is what the main focus of this paper is going to be. I would like to focus on the Beliefs and values of the Kurdish culture, as well as the Economics and gender relations. When it comes to the Kurdish beliefs the Kurdish people are mostly found to be Sunni Muslims, which is a branch of Islam. Sunnis believe that the companions of the prophet Muhammad were the best of the Muslims. Islam spread among the Kurds in approximately the seventh and eighth centuries. Almost all Kurds are Sunni Muslims, though some are Christian or Jewish. The Five Pillars of the Islamic Faith are: 1. Testimony of Faith – Kalima, 2. Prayer – Salat 3. Fasting – Bukhari, 4. Almsgiving – Zakat, 5. Pilgrimage to Mecca – Hajj. Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and lasts for one full month. Now, during the month of Ramadan Muslims fast during the daylight and eat in the evening while visiting with family and friends. There are exceptions around children, pregnant women, the sick, and the elderly that allows them to eat during this time. Every Muslim male or female, who is in good enough health and also can afford to travel to Mecca, must do so at least once in their lifetime. It is a general consensus among most Muslims not to consume pork. Kurds have special dietary needs based on their religion. I mentioned before that there are Christians and Jews in the Kurdish culture. A large portion of the Middle East’s Christian population lives in Egypt and Syria. The Christians in Iraq, meanwhile, have suffered greatly as a result of the country’s security over the past decade. The situation continues to look uncertain for the Christians, who have seen already the implementation of Islamist practices and policies in Egypt. The Jews of Kurdistan, clothing and culture is similar to the neighboring Kurdish Muslims and Christian Assyrians. These Jews live as closed ethnic communities. Many Kurds do belong to Sufi brotherhoods. They meet to chant and dance together to worship Allah. The Sufi brotherhoods are essential in the Kurdish village life. There are approximately 1 million Kurdish 'Alawis, which is a secretive faith based on and distinct from Islam in Turkey, and there are approximately 40,000 to 70,000 Yazidis mostly in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Yazidism is a small religion that combines the aspects of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity together. Though Christians do exist in the Kurdish culture, there population is minute. Some Kurdish nationalist movements that have been led by socialists have been found to have a strong history of atheism and secularism. On March 21st, the first day of spring, the Kurds celebrate Noruz. This is a celebration of the New Year. It lasts for 13 days. There are special foods, fireworks, dancing, singing, and poetry recitations. Spring flowers, such as tulips, hyacinths, are cut and new clothes are worn. Pottery is also smashed for good luck. Families take the time to spend the day in the country, enjoying the...
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