6.Which is the religious center of Yazidis and what kind of holidays do they have connected with their religious center?
Yazidis religious center, that is our sanctuary, is located in Northern Iraq, in Lalesh. We keep in secular and spiritual contact with our sanctuary’s priests and thanks to them we have restored some of our holidays. Under the pressure of Muslims we have left our holy places and escaped to various countries, particularly to India, some of us settled in Western Armenia, while the others in Afghanistan. Just we are the Yazidis of Western Armenia. Throughout the centuries, by moving from place to place, being surrounded by Muslims, we have forgotten some of our religious traditions. We had some religious holidays which are celebrated even nowadays. In recent years we have adopted two holidays from the Sanctuary, which will be annually celebrated. I hope, that we will manage to restore all of the holidays.
7.Which are the religious holidays of Yazidis?
I’d say that all of them are religious. But we will speak of those holidays, that are upheld up to now. First of them is Saint Yazidi holiday, which is celebrated in December. We keep Fasting (ծոմ) for three days, and the fourth day is the celebrating ceremony. Every Yazidi should make sacrifices. The second important holiday is St. Sarkis holiday, which is celebrated by Armenians too. But the only difference, comparing to them, is the name of the hero, who we call as Xdr Nabi or Xdr Aylas. He is the Patron Saint of love and youth. According to a legend, he lends his helping hands in difficult times. And all of the traditions concerning these holiday, that Armenians have, are upheld by us too. Armenians say, that they have borrowed this holiday from paganism, because before Christianity Armenians’ main belief was heliolatry or sun worship. And there are still some Armenians worshiping the Sun.
8.Can you bring any proved and reasonable examples of the above-mentioned?
If one wants to make a sincere statement that he is telling the truth, he says “I swear to my Father’s sun, or Mother’s sun”. I have never heard any Armenian saying “I swear to my Christ”. We have been the worshippers of the Sun, and may be our friendship with Armenian started from those times.
9.And what should a Yazidi person do to be considered a real Yazidi, which are the characteristic features of Yazidis?
Our religion urges us to refrain from any wrongdoing, and preaches these commandments: “Never lie, never steal, never give false testimony against your neighbor, help the needy”. Gossip is also banned in our religion and is considered as an unforgivable sin. You should be devoted to your God, your prophets and angels, and never get distracted from the way they have shown. And what is the most important you should be dedicated to your belief. To keep and maintain our ancestors’ traditions, not do any harm to others’ families- these is the only little part of our religious doctrine. If we manage to uphold them and to stay true to our way, our belief, we will be recognized as Pure Yazidis. But if the Yazidi grows up and becomes familiar with evil, lives his life in a wrong way, it means he doesn’t obey God’s and prophets’ commandments. He will be punished for his disobedience, and even not in this world, he will get his punishment after life. But if the person in the battle between good and evil, prefers good, he deserves appreciation.
- 10. And what can you say about the “fold”, that Yazidis call “Ster”? We often hear different opinions about sanctifying it, and many people have dissident opinions of it.
Those folds exist almost at every Yazidi house, and everybody knows that despite Armenians don’t have such a custom, they also have additional bed linens that are designed for guests. Both Armenians and Yazidis are very hospitable people. And they need those folds in order for the guest to have a safe place to sleep. I have also heard various contradictory things about that custom and by hearing them sometimes I really get ashamed. The reason of it is that other nations may say that Yazidis are a nation who bow to the sacrificed lamb’s wool, and as another part says, the guests bed is hoy for us, that’s why we have such a tradition. But the reality is, that we say each Yazidi family has its guardian angel and as he is invisible, we find these folds as his seat and resting place at our homes. Angel’s place is untouchable, so nobody can seat on it. When we bow our heads to those folds, we bow to our guardian angels. Thus, other opinions and views relating this issue, are untrue and don’t bring honor to our nation.
- To what extent do Yazidis uphold their religious provisions?
There are many religious provisions of Yazidis. I just mentioned some of them. About 55-60% of Yazidis uphold the traditions, 40% do not. This is not just in our nation, for example our brother Armenians – not all of them are inclined to Christianity and church. Many adopt other religions. The same is here. We would be very happy to see our traditions upheld. We don’t have traditions that would make people ashamed.
- Are there unforgivable sins?
Murder is an unforgivable sin. We see various motives for murders in our secular world – intentional, accidental. When someone, especially a child, is killed it is unforgivable and there is no rescue for the murderer. Life is given by God and should be taken by God. Man can’t name himself Supergod and take others’ souls. This is a horrific sin. The second one is disavowing your nation. It is not acceptable neither by prophets nor by God.
And for Ziarat’s building we are grateful to Mirsa Sloyan. We knew that Lalesh exists and we have a religious center. That was on our minds and we always wanted to go there one day – to bow and come back blessed. But many had no financial means. And Mirsa built here Ziarat. We celebrate 2-3 feasts a year, for example Red’s Thursday, Zatik where we paint eggs with 4 colors. We plan to celebrate here many other feasts too. Many got excited and we turned towards Ziarat, towards our ancestors’ religion and tradition. Everything changed. Yazidis today accept their religion and traditions. We are thankful for this change to Mirsa Sloyan. It is hard to explain religion traditions without showing it first hand. It is already a tradition for us when bride and bridegroom go there on their wedding day to be blessed by God and then they go home. Before Ziarat this was ceased because we had no place for this. And we hope that this tradition will continue. For Yazidis it is very important to be blessed by God as wife and husband. We are again thankful to Mirsa. This place and its angels are Yazidi nation’s watchers
- Mr. Hasanyan, what further developments of Armenian-Yazidi friendship do you see?
We used to have the same religion. We fought against the same enemy. Yet at Kraghan battle sheik Mirsa and prist Poghos (in our songs,we call prist Poghos kyashish Polo) fought the same enemy. At the Sardarapat and Bash Aparan battles, agha Jahangir and Yazidis again fought together. Armenian Land is holy for me. My parents, my brothers are buried here. We kept our language and religion living here. We are not ought to speak other languages. For example, Kurds are 40 million nation and they cannot speak their mother language in Turkey. We have never been restricted to speak our language. We freely speak our language and we feel comfortable here and we will convey this to our children and grandchildren. We are thankful to the Armenian nation and I think the Armenian nation will be thankful to Yazidis too.
- Mr. Hasanyan, there is an opinion that Muslims consider Yazidis irreligious because Yazidis do not have Holy Book. According to some sources, there are Holy books in Yazidis’ holy center Lalesh. Could you please give some more information?
At the beginning of our interview, I mentioned that Yazidis’ religion is one of the oldest in the world. After Babylon, we wrote our first letters with Assyrians on shells. How is that possible that Muslims with only 1400 years of history have literature but Yazidis with over 12000 do not. Turks do not have literature and letters but we and Armenians do have our own letters. Our Zagun was a huge book written on magaghat with gold letters. It was destroyed by our enemies. Rumors say that the book is in a British museum now. But we do not now for sure. Maybe one day someone will be able to find it. Because of living among Muslims, we prohibited our children to go to school and people consider us a nation for whom literature and alphabet are sins. We did not want our children to learn Muhammad commandments. In that case, we would be Muslims nowadays. During 1915-1918 massacres, Mir Ismail sent a letter to Khrimyan Hayrik asking to educate our nation. There are 2 books – “Black roll” and “Book of revelation”. Only one of them exists, it was found here in the National Academia but there were many insinuations and we denied it. Many of our adages are kept by conveying them mouth to mouth to our children and grandchildren. Now we should write down all of them for our followers. We talked a lot about wars, massacres. I want to beg God to cease all wars in the world and maintain peace. I want people to achieve their goals and live like brothers without massacres and blood. I wish peace to our little Armenian homeland and Karabagh’s reunion with the homeland. That would be the biggest happiness of mine to see all wars ceased.
Dear Listeners, information on Yazidis religion provided by these 2 videos will help you to further develop Armenian-Yazidi friendship and to have prosperous life in Armenian homeland.
Translated by Aida Grigoryan , Mijerita Khachatryan and Anna Arzumanyan