PEACOCK BLUES The Armenian Yazidis. - PhMuseum

PEACOCK BLUES The Armenian Yazidis.

Michela&Emanuela Colombo

2018

Armenia

Yazidism is one of the oldest religions in the world. It is the only one that foresees neither proselytism nor the possibility of joining the faith except by bloodlines. It was already practised by the Sumerians and the Mesopotamians around 4000 BC. This religion includes elements of Zoroastrianism, Sufism, Christianity and even Islamism.

The Yazidis have faced endless persecutions and repeated massacres over the years. The most recent is the genocide which took place in 2014, completed by Isis in the sacred region of Sinjar in Iraq, where more than 5000 people were slaughtered. Only in 2016 the massacre was recognized as genocide by the international community for the defence of Human rights.

The Yazidis arrived in Armenia following the genocide of 1915 and constituted the largest ethnic minority in the country. Armenia is the only state in the world that has of cially recognized the Yazidis to be an ethnic- religious minority therefore protecting their traditions: the Yazidis culture and religion are taught in schools and the Constitution guarantees the Yazidis ve places in the Government.

The Yazidi society is divided into three castes: the Sheiks, the Pirs, the Nirids. The Nirids are the common people, while the Pirs and the Sheiks (the latter group was probably inherited from the Islamic world) are the spiritual guides of the community and those who of ciate the rites (weddings, funerals) and perform propitious sacri ces. Belonging to castes is hereditary, as it is for religion. Until recently females were not entitled to education and they had to marry very young.

The Yazidis have always been considered semi nomadic shepherds although today men, in order to support their family, have to move to Russia to nd work as bricklayers while women remain alone looking after

the animals with the children. The religion has been handed down so far only orally from community to community by Sheiks and Piers. In this way, the dictates of the Yazidis’ creed have been changing over time and depending on the place, and their religion is at risk of losing its original identity.

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  • Relics of Saint Shekubaker.
    Rzgan Amoyan, born in 1963. He is Sheikh of the village of Charchakis. He looks after the relics of Saint Shekubaker (the Saint who protects from fears) within the “Sacred Place”, a hideout which he can only access. The relics are stones and objects that he uses to heal and reassure
    the Nirids (the lower caste). In exchange for the healings, the rites he of ciates (baptisms, weddings, funerals) and the pledging sacri ces, he receives donations.

  • Rashid Rzgoyan.
    He was born in 1966. He lives in
    a rented house in the village of Shenik in the district of Armavir. The village has a school but there are not enough children to be able to form
    a Yazidi class in order to teach them the religion and the traditions, which are then handed down orally from family to family. Until a few years ago the percentage of the population Yazidi on the whole village was
    50% but today many Yazidi have emigrated to Russia for work, and only 150 out of 800 inhabitants are Yazidi. Rashid is considered the most educated in the village, he studied in Russia and he is the person in charge for the local cultural association
    to preserve the Yazidi tradition in Yerevan. He’d like to move to Russia.

  • Aram Mamoyan home in Ferik.
    He was born in 1975. He lives in Yerevan with his partner Susanna and 3 sons. Ferik’s house has always belonged to the husband’s family and they go there during their holidays.

  • Azo Ayibyan.
    He was born in 1985. He got married when he was 19 and he has always lived in the village of Lukashin in
    the district of Armavir. He deals with agriculture and sheep-farming. The whole family spends 4 months in spring-summer on the mountains with livestock living in a mobile home. In the bedroom, as a Yazidi tradition, there is a holy place,
    which houses the patron saint of the House. It is about a stack of mattresses used for the guests as a sign of respect.

  • The partisan ag of the PKK.
    As a matter of fact,Yazidis is a population of Kurdish origin, but
    for the majority of the Armenian Yazidis, the Kurds are the betrayers and murders converted to Islam who committed the genocide alongside the Turks in 1915. For this reason most people do not identify with the Kurdish ethnicity.

  • Liana and Ruslan Mirzoyan.
    She was born in 1999 and he was born in 2016. Liana lives in the house of her parents-in-laws with her son Ruslan. Her husband is often in Russia for work.

  • Asya.
    She was born in 2008 and lives in Lukashin village, in the district of Armavir, inhabited by both Yazidi and Armenians. 26 families out of 500 are Yazidi. They are perfectly integrated and feel Armenian.

  • Vari Galoyan.
    He was born in 1989. He lives in the village of Lukashin in the district of Armavir. He deals with agriculture and livestock. He is a semi-nomadic shepherd and during the summer he moves to live in the mountains with his animals as well as carrying the whole family.

  • Village of Shenik.
    The village has a school but there are not enough children to be able to form a Yazidi class in order to teach them the religion and the traditions, which are then handed down orally from family to family. Until a few years ago the percentage of the population Yazidi on the whole village was 50% but today many Yazidi have emigrated to Russia for work, and only 150 out of 800 inhabitants are Yazidi.

  • Mary Hamoyan.
    She was born in 2012. She is Ferik’s Daughter, who is a famous Yazidi musician who plays traditional music concerning the history of his people.

  • Khamo Aliyan.
    He was born in 1954. He is Piers
    of the village of Yamshlan. It is a spiritual guide and a memory of tradition for his village, especially for young people. His son works
    in Russia and he does not want to take responsibility for being his successor, so Khamo will probably choose his nephew as his successor. In his house he guards the relics
    of the Saint Pirè Drbes in the room dedicated to the sacred Place.

  • Yamshlan.
    It is one of the many villages entirely inhabited by the Yazidis that meet along the M51 road. The Yazidis arrived here after the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

  • Mira.
    The Yazidis arrived here from Turkey in 1827, before the genocide which took place in 1915. Until 1945 the country counted 270 Yazidi houses. Today only one Yazidi and one Armenian family remains in Mirak while everybody else emigrated to Russia for work.

  • Ferie.
    It is a village near the temple of Aknalich entirely inhabited by Yazidi people.
    It houses about 50 families.

  • Temple of Aknalich.
    The Yazidis believe in one only
    God who has created seven Angels to whom he has given the task of shaping the world and all that it contains. The most powerful angel is Malaki Taus: it is represented in the form of peacock and it created the Sun and human beings. Malaki Taus is invoked every morning by all the Yazidis, who turn to the Sun, thank for the New day and touch their face twice with their hands.

  • Temple of Aknalich.
    The temple was nanced in full
    by Mirza Choloi Sloyan, a Yazidi Armenian emigrated to Russia where he made fortune by creating television stations. It will be the largest Yazidi temple in the world. Its construction begun in 2012 and it will be completed within September 2018. The marbles employed in the building arrive from Iran and are worked on site. Within the complex there is a large Yazidi cemetery.
    The peacock is the main symbol of this religion, and it represents the Angel Malaki Taus, the one who created the Sun and the men.

  • Jora Choloyan.
    He was born in 1967. He is the local manager of the village
    of Kyorleulakh. He graduated
    in pedagogy, he now teaches mathematics in the local school, which is attended by 37 children.

  • Sacred Place,LukashinVillage.
    The Yazidis believe in one only
    God who has created seven Angels to whom he has given the task of shaping the world and all that it contains. The most powerful angel is Malaki Taus: it is represented in the form of peacock and it created the Sun and human beings.
    All the other angels must also be revered and worshipped.
    Sacri ces and propitiatory prayers are dedicated to them.
    Every worshipper must set up an altar in the house so that the spirits are favorable to them. The altar is called Sacred Place, and consists
    of a pile of mattresses and blankets on which spirits can rest and bring blessing to the house.

  • Anna Galoyan.
    She was born in 1979. She lives in the village of Lukashin in the district of Armavir. She got married when she was 17 and has four children. The family lived with the parents-in- laws for 13 years and now they have moved into an independent house for 2 years.


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