Kurdish Culture Essay Paper

The Iraqi Culture Essay

The Iraqi Culture
In recent years, the Iraqi nation has endured a crisis that will forever remain in the hearts and minds of the Middle Eastern culture. However, the outcomes of the War on Iraq will not change the long-lasting and passionate traditions and memories that have been held in the country for decades. One major event that happened in Iraq’s history is that on October 3, 1932 Iraq was established as an independent nation. Iraq has always been a country in which respect and generosity have been highly valued and play an important cultural role in everyday life. Additionally, approximately ninety-five percent of Iraqis are Muslim, and therefore Islam is the official religion of this nation (Gutierrez 1). Furthermore, Iraq is a country that holds a lot of historically, culturally, and religiously significant beliefs, customs, and traditions.
Many historical events have occurred in Iraq in the past few centuries. The day that Iraq gained independence was a very important day for the Middle-Easterners. They gained their independence on October 3, 1932 (Black 7). The Iraqis felt this day to be a day to celebrate that they were no longer attached with Britain. Another important historical event was the Gulf War. In the year of 1991, the phrase Allahu Akbar, meaning God is great, was added to the faithful flag of Iraq (Culture of Iraq 2). Lastly, the War on Terror has been a very unfortunate happening for the entire world, but even more so specifically for those living in the Middle East. After the United States invaded Iraq due to the belief that they had weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was killed, and the country was forever changed.
Three of the many cultural practices in Iraq include food, marriage, and education. In the Middle East the “the traditional meal includes rice with soup or sauce, and accompanied by lamb and vegetables” (Culture of Iraq 4). Traditionally in...

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© Michelle May

The Kurdish people are a heterogeneous ethnic group whose ethnic background comes from many regions including Iraqi Kurdistan, and parts of Iran, Turkey, and Syria. The Kurdish ethnic group includes many ancient ethnicities that have been absorbed into modern cultures including Iranian, Azerbaijani, Turkic and Arabic cultures. In this sense, the Kurdish culture shares commonalities with many other regional cultures, and celebrates a unique level of cultural equality and tolerance.

The Struggle for Kurdish Cultural Survival

In addition to political repression, the Kurds have also experienced cultural repression.  In Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, there were extensive campaigns at forced assimilation.  Kurds were forbidden to speak Kurdish in public, they had to change their names to local ethnic names if they wanted a job or to enroll their children in school. Their books, music and clothing were considered contraband and they had to hide them in their homes. If authorities searched their homes and found anything Kurdish, they could be imprisoned, and many were. In recent years, both Iran and Turkey have relaxed their systemic cultural repression, while Iraqi Kurds have achieved autonomy.

Kurdish Poetry and Song

Kurdish culture has a rich oral tradition. Most popular are epic poems called lawj, and they often tell of adventure in love or battle.

Kurdish literature first appeared in the seventh century AD.  In 1596, Sharaf Khan, Emir of Bitlis, composed a history of the Kurds in Persian called the Sharafnama. Almost one hundred years later, in 1695, a great national epic called the Memozin was written in Kurdish by Ahmed Khani.

Dengbej refers to a musician who performs traditional Kurdish folk songs. The word ‘deng’ means voice and ‘bej’ means ‘to sing.’ Dengbej are best known for their “stran,” or song of mourning.

Traditional Kurdish instruments include the flute, drums, and the ut-ut (similar to a guitar). The music of Sivan Perwar, a Kurdish pop music performer, was banned in Turkey and Iraq in the 1980s, so he left the region to live and work in Sweden.

Kurdish Craft

Carpet-weaving is by far the most significant Kurdish folk art. Kurdish rugs and carpets use medallion patterns; however, far more popular are the all-over floral, Mina Khani motifs and the “jaff” geometric patterns. The beauty of Kurdish designs are enriched by high-chroma blues, greens, saffrons as well as terracotta and burnt orange hues made richer still by the lustrous wool used.

The traditional Kurdish rug uses Kurdish symbols. It is possible to read the dreams, wishes and hopes of the rug maker from the sequence of symbols used. It is this signification and communication both individually and grouped into Kurdish rug making Kurdish people study how meaning is constructed and understood by talking with the rug maker.

Other crafts are embroidery, leather-working, and metal ornamentation. Kurds are especially known for copper-working.

Kurdish Sports

Popular sports include soccer, wrestling, hunting and shooting, and cirit, a traditional sport that involves throwing a javelin while mounted on horseback. Camel-and horse-racing are popular in rural areas.

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