Monday, April 29, 2013

Day Y: Yezidis- one of many diverse groups

This April, I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, writing about the A to Z of Iraqi Culture. Do give in your own two cents in the comments below and let me know if you have anything to add or something similar to share from your own culture.

The borderlines of Iraq have gathered within them a range of people from diverse ethnicity and religions, all with one common identity of being Iraqi. There are Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians and Turkmen, and there are Muslims, Christians, Jews, and many other minority religions, one of which is the Yezidi faith.

The Yezidis are Kurdish-speaking people found around Europe, in countries such as Russia, Germany and the Ukraine, but the largest population is in Iraq, amounting to around five hundred thousand. The term has been derived from Yezdan- God. Their belief is in One God who has entrusted the world into the care of seven Holy Beings, the most important being the Melek Taus- the Peacock Angel. 

Their annual pilgrimage is to the tomb of Ibn Musafir, located in the city of Mosul. Every Spring, music, dance, lights, food and egg-decorating in Yezidi-concentrated regions signify the start of their new year.

Yezidi New Year Celebration

There was a time when the diversity of the people in Iraq was peaceful to the point of striking amazement in outsiders. An American journalist writes in a National Geographic issue of December, 1914:
"For a year I lived there, the sole specimen of my kind. Yet the 180,000 inhabitants show a striking variety, almost justifying the tradition which locates the "Tower of Babel" near Bagdad. Certainly the mixed races in Bagdad produce even now a striking "confusion of tongues". The mixture preserves a peace balance, undoubtedly, and saves Bagdad from the race wars and massacres common in Asia Minor"
Unfortunately, our beautiful diverse community has lived days of civil strife and sectarianism in recent times. I pray for the day to come soon where we go back to celebrating our differences.


  1. Loved reading this.

    Sectarianism and prejudices over religion and caste are major problems in India as well. I too wish fervently to live to see the day when we can live in harmony.

  2. This was informative, just goes to show there's so much I don't know about this world :O

  3. In America we are becoming a divided nation, too. It saddens me that we have lost the ability to agree to disagree. I hope soon you are able to celebrate Yezidi again, just as you had before.

  4. Interesting.
    I've met several Kurdish people when I visited Turkey ... well, they were Turks, but of Kurdish descent. Don't know of any here in California, but we have so many nationalities and religions... hard to tell.

    Great post, Ghadeer.

    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

  5. Will that ever happen?! Can it ever happen?

  6. People who celebrate their differences can also recognize the ways in which they are the same.

  7. So much to be amazed about in your posts.
    I have a lot of learning to do.
    Thank you Very Much.

  8. I'm not sure if I've already commented on this - and I'm pretty sure I have missed commenting on some of your posts, but I'll have you know I read them all. It's the new format that... loads slowly on my laptop, and sometimes the commenting bit doesn't show up '_'

    But anyhow, if I haven't commented on this already, I must say I'm thoroughly impressed. Once again you've taught me something new, and it makes me happy ^_^ I'll pray for the same things...

  9. Hi Ghadeer - I echo your sentiments .. "for the day to come when we can go back to celebrating our differences" ...

    I just hope peace can reign very soon .. Hilary


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