Culture and Customs

The Kurdish people are very friendly and hospitable people who like sports, good food, and dance, which they regularly enjoy during numerous significant events and holidays.

Cultural Heritage
The Kurdish culture has a rich oral literary tradition, while epic poems lawje are the most popular. Commonly, these poems are about the adventures on the field of love or battle. The most distinctive work of literature is Mam-u Zin written by Ahmad-î Khânî (Ehmede Xanî, 1650-1706). The Kurdish people consider it their national epos. It may evoke the story of Romeo and Juliet.

The Kurdish people are largely family-oriented. Wedding is considered as the most significant celebration. Relatively young people enter marriage at the average age of 17 or 18. Tribal leadership is lineally inherited. Nevertheless, the local chiefs are elected depending on their skills and character features, including generosity, integrity, and the ability to deal with the government authorities.

Main Holidays
Originally, the Kurdish calendar was Lunisolar calendar also known as the Babylon calendar. The current calendar is a Solar calendar. The most important public holiday is Nawruz – Persian New Year which is celebrated on the first spring day (March 21st). Special food, fireworks, dancing, singing, and poetry recitals are typical for the occassion. Common flowers are tulips or hyacinths (like in the Czech Republic). Since most of the Kurdish people are nomadic, many of their holidays are connected to certain crucial milestones in their life cycle, such as the celebration preceding relocation of herds to the summer pastures, shearing, period of lambs birth, or the autumnal return to the village. The importance of the Islamic holidays varies in each individual Kurdish family.

Bulgur (crushed wheat) used to constitute a primary ingredient of Kurds, but rice is gaining popularity. The Kurdish diet includes all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Typically, cucumbers are grown, while vineyards spread across the valleys. Grapes are used for the production of jam. Meat is usually eaten on special occasions. The most popular and frequently served drink is tea. A Kurdish traditional breakfast is a slice of bread served with grains cooked in whey.

Men wear baggy, coloured pants with a shirt with big sleeves sewed at the level of elbows. Bright red vests and cummerbund are worn over the shirt. On the top of their heads, men also wear blue silk turbans. Last but not least, a dyke is an indispensable part of the traditional men’s costume.

Women’s dresses are also full of bright colours. So are their skirts and blouses.
However, this traditional way of clothing is today rather exceptional. Kurds dress accordingly to the country where they live. Traditional Kurdish shoes are called klash. These are comfortable moccasins with a flexible sole.

The Kurdish popular sports are football, wrestling, or hunting. Other major sports events include so called Cirit – a traditional sport of javelin throw while riding a horse, or horse riding, particularly then in the countryside.

Music and dance
Traditional music is played with a long flute, frame drums, and ut-ut, which is similar to a guitar. Many songs are epic in nature and chant about the glory of the mythical kings or heroes. The Kurdish people also love dancing. There are many kinds of dance in Kurdistan varying across the regions. Typical dances are Dilan, Sepe, Geryan, or Chapi.

References: – Kurds – What are some interesting facts about Kurdish culture