Yezidi religious holidays

The holidays of the Yazidi are divided into 2 groups, spiritual holidays and secular ones. As the Yazidi are ethno confessional group, which means that their religion is unique, their holidays are alsi related to their religion. We are going to refer to the religious holidays and festivals of the Yazidi in this video. The holidays of the Yazidi are numerous, but as the Yazidi of Armenia have been far from their historical homeland for ages, some holidays have been eliminated  among the Yazidi people and some holidays have been reinterpreted under the local  influence.

At first we want to speak about the Yazidi holiday “khdrnab” and introduce you its peculiarities. There is such kind of thing; some days before the holiday the parents of the girls married in recent years visit their daughters, they congratulate them beforehand and bring them home, which is called “zeyi”, or “dardz” in Armenian. And after the holiday they send her with the gifts both for her and her husband’s family. But they can take their daughter home for zeyi for other holidays too, depending on the convenience and material opportunity. The religion doesn’t put any limit or ban. There is a demand, that all the offended  Yazidi people must be reconciled surely during the holiday. According to the demands of the religion if somebody wants to take the first step to reconcile and gets a refusal, it will be considered as an offense and unkind treatment towards the religion of Sharfadin. Sometimes the priest(tireq) himself goes the houses of the Yazidi people who are offended to reconcile them saying “ew me’na xeydê daynine alikî, bîr bikin, bona xatirê vê r’oja e’ziz” (forget about offense in honor of this holy day). That’s why the Yazidi must try to be friendly during their holidays, as they believe that the friendship and the unity are a great strength. At first the Yazidi usually visit the priests (şêx or p’îr) on Thursday evening. They try to visit them not empty-handed. In ancient times the villagers gave the priests natural products. Currently they give sweets and drinks. In the entrance the secular Yazidi people kiss the right hand of the priest and get his blessing. Before people reach there, the “stêr” must be opened (the Yazidi call “stêr” the beddings placed to each other, which must be in every Yazidi family).

Next Friday (înî) morning, which is called e’yd(holiday), when the days of fasting are over, people visit each other, congratulate(bimbarek-pîroz dikin),or  symphatize(serxweşî) the relative or neighbor who had a loss recently. Coming inside they say “E’yda mirî û zêndîa bimbarek be”( to honor of the holiday of the dead and alive). It is usually expressed with a polite visit and some gifts. For example, if one of the relatives of the wife died a present is given for the wife. It isn’t excluded to go to grave with qewal on Friday, where he prays for the relief of the spirit of the dead.

Rituals: Unlike other holidays the Khdr Nab has some nice rituals. As the Khdr Nab is called mirazbexş, which means “goal full filler”, that’s why this is considered to be  a holiday of youth. Thursday(pêşemê) evening, which is called Leyle qedir, single boys and girls eat totka şor’ (salty patty), which must be made by a single girl. They must avoid eating a patty made by divorced woman or widow in order not to deserve the same fate. The young must sleep without drinking water and according to tradition they must see their future husband or wife in a dream. A part of the salty patty they must put under their pillow. But the young Yazidi people in Syria, Iraq, Turkey don’t eat salty patty, they just wait for the celebration impatiently. But there isn’t anything about salty patty in our religious hymns, maybe it is superstition or maybe not everything should be written in Yazidi hymns. Consequently it is difficult to say whether the idea of salty patty had been from the first days of celebrating Khdr Nab or not. Thursday evening a tray with massive flour is put in the ster. Sometimes pokhindz is put in the tray believing that Khdr Nab will pass their home with his horse and the spot of horseshoe will rest there(nîşana Xidir Nebî). It is sometimes  believed that Khdr Nab leaves one of his tail’s strand. Early in the morning if people see the spot or strand in the flour or pokindz they believe that Khdr Nab had been in that house and good luck is expected to that family. In ancient times there was a following custom among the villagers; on the eve of the holiday the women, brides, girls of the house drew columns on the wall and ceiling. The number  of the columns was related to the number of their children, and inside the columns they drew pictures in the number of their  grandchildren. Who hadn’t a boy they drew a picture of him, and who hadn’t a girl drew a picture of her hoping that their wishes would come true.

Translated  by  Aida  Grigoryan  ,  Mijerita  Khachatryan  and  Anna   Arzumanyan

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