BY- JAYA CHOUDHARY
The Yezidis are the Kurdish religious minorities from countries like Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey. With the news focusing on the culture in Iraq, not many people are aware that the Yezidi and Hindu cultures are strikingly close. The two civilizations have had a long relationship dating back to ancient times.
The Yazidis used to be nomadic and had therefore migrated to India. This resulted in a massive cultural influx, with some of them staying in India for over four thousand years. They incorporated Hindu culture into their rituals during this time period. The Yazidis light oil lamps with peacocks on top, which is a popular Indian tradition. Yazidi temples, similar to Hindu temples, have a pyramid-shaped Gopura.
Furthermore, their temple in Lalish features a snake symbol at the entrance, which is not found among any other Arabian or Mesopotamian tribes. Moreover, the Yazidis’ emblem is a peacock with wings extended, similar to the Hindu god Siva’s son Subrahmanya‘s mount. For Hindus, Subrahmanya is the other snake avatar, and he is revered for all snake-related pujas such as Naga Panchami.
At first glance, the relationship between these two cultures appears to be surprising. But, history can be somewhat uncertain. Few other parallels between Iraqi Yazidis and followers of the Vedic Religion include:
- Yazidis marry only within their castes, i.e. total of 4 castes like original Hindus, and follow the gotra system in different terminology.
- The religious minority prays with folded hands facing the sun at sunrise and sunset. They, like Hindus, believe in a recurring birth and death cycle.
- In a similar fashion as Hindus, the Yazidi men do not circumcise, which is a rare phenomenon in the middle-east.
- Yazidi women, like Hindu women, light oil lamps in large numbers during festival celebrations. Also, when Yazidi women enter their temples, they wear a mark on their forehead that is very similar to the bindi or tilak which is worn by Hindu women.
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- In their culture, fire worship is given the highest priority in their culture, equivalent to the Havans in Vedic tradition. Additionally, the Yazidi Sabbath day falls on the same day as the festival Skanda Shashtri or Subrahmanya Shashti. Yazidis play the dholak, blow the shank, bathe in holy rivers, and worship the peacock, all of which are similar to Hindu customs.
- The Yazidis were the Hindu Brahmin priests at Gobleki Tepi, one of the ancient Stonehenge. Moreover, on the walls of secret temples in Iraq, carvings of Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman, as well as paintings of an Indian woman lighting a peacock lamp, were discovered.