"Pir Shalyar's Wedding", a Sacred Old Tradition

Kurdistan in general and Hawraman in particular is one of the ancient lands that have preserved part of the ancient culture of humanity. One of the oldest traditions that include the nice Kurdish culture and is celebrated in Hawraman is the wedding of Pir Shalyar or the Pir's Ceremony. In midwinter, in the "city of "Hawraman," people leave their normal lives and prepare themselves to celebrate the holiday with sacred love. This ceremony is an annual festival to keep alive the memory and name of a religious figure named Pir Shalyar. This old man is one of the ninety-nine old men of Hawraman and has the highest rank among them. He was part of the beliefs of the people of Hawraman and legends were created about it. However, it is not yet clear from the sources how many Pir Shalyars existed in Hawraman. And is this ceremony for the last of them, Mustafa son of Khudadad, or was it also performed during the reign of the previous Pir Shaliars? However, what is still agreed upon is that Pir Shalyar was a high religious rank that dignified people attained after extensive worship. It should be noted that the people of Hawraman believe that they celebrate this "Pir's Ceremony" for "Mustafa son of Khudadad".

"Pir's Ceremony" is a series of annual ceremonies that is common among the people of Hawraman and they consider it a necessary duty. They believe that the presence of Pir Shalyar and the observance of the traditions of his festival will bless their lives and protect them from all calamities. Therefore, the people of Hawraman Takht and several surrounding villages have a special and attractive movement for this festival, and on average they try for the better conduct of traditions and rituals, which are: 1- "Khabar (News)", 2- "Kota Kota", 3- "Klawrochne", 4. "Sacrifice", 5. "Sacred Food" (Hiloshinatshe or Chashtatshe), 6. "Horpray" (religious dance), 7. "Night of Nisht" 8. "Jam on the Pir's grave" (Tirbe). Below are briefly described the rituals that must be performed without any defects.

1- Khabar (News)

One Friday before midwinter, the people of Hawraman announce the arrival of the Pir's Ceremony during Friday prayers. They announce the coming of the Pir's Ceremony by distributing walnuts from the gardens of Pir Shalyar to the households of Hawraman. The walnuts are packed in the same number in an envelope and distributed to households. Families willingly give whatever they can to the person who brings the walnuts. It should be noted that families have already prepared their offerings as “Pir's vows” for the ceremony.

2- Kota Kota

After the traditional "Khabar" celebration, no special work is done until the evening of Tuesday of the week in which the "Pir's Ceremony" is held. On Tuesday evening, however, a kind of play for intimidation and laughter is held by the youth called "Kota Kota". At night, the youth wear masks or blacken their eyes and faces, go into the homes, knock on doors, perform an art to joke, and scare people. After the knock on the door of each house, intimidation, teasing, and laughter, the householder, who had already put a gift in a bag, would give it to them.

3- Klawrochne

On the same evening, when the youth are busy with Kota Kota, the children walk around the streets with bags and go to the houses and call out, “Happy birthday to your boys and girls”. The householders do not deprive these children of gifts and give them something. Householder gifts mostly include walnuts, currant, biscuits, candies, giggles, chocolates, cakes, and money. The word "klawrochne" is the same as "klawrozhne" (chimney) and refers to a hole that was made on the roof of houses in old times to escape the smoke of the fire on which they cooked or baked bread.

4- Sacrifice

One day after "Klawrochne" the people of Hawraman bring a herd of animals for sacrifice to the house of "Pir Shalyar". After sacrificing the animals, the meat is divided and given to each Hawrami house as sacred food. Each family that comes for its meat, brings rice, pomegranate pickles, peas, and wheat to be used in making the "sacred food" i.e., "Hiloshinatshe" or "Chashtatshe"

5. The sacred food, "Hiloshinatshe" or "Chashtatshe"

A special food is prepared for the guests of Pir who gather at night. The Hawrami people call this sacred dish "Hiloshinatshe" or "Chashtatshe", which is a sour liquid made from rice, nakhoshar, pomegranate pickle, lungs, livers, and fat of sacrificed animals. Some of the food is given to the people and children who have gathered in front of the Pir's house with pots to take home. Part is given to those engaged in the "sacred dance" and part is distributed to the people of the Pir's house on the night of the "Nisht".

6. Horpray or religious dance

People who live in Hawraman and those who have come from around Hawraman all gather in front of the Pir's house, hold hands, and gently start dancing to the sound of Shimshal, drums, and daff, which is more like the style of darweshes' zikr. The clerics, the caliphs of the sects, the elders, and the youth all join in the dance.

7 - The night of the Nisht

After dancing and zikr, people gather in the evening at the Pir's house. The night when people become guests of the Pir's house and sit there is called the night of Nisht (sitting). Since old times, people gathered in the Pir's house that night and after eating the "sacred food" begin with zikr, mystical songs, sheikhs, and religious sermons. At the end of the night, they take out the Pir's memorabilia from a special box that includes a zheraklash, a rosary, and a stone candlestick. After people circumambulate these things, they put them back in the special box.

8- Trbe

Trbe is a ceremony held on Thursday, a week after the wedding of Pir Shalyar. In the morning of that day, the Hawrami people go to the shrines of the elders around Hawraman and then they all return to the shrine of Pir Shalyar, known as Piri Piran (the elder of elders), and start praying. At the end of this ceremony, a sacred food is distributed and eaten among the people which they call "Geta Mazhgi" which is a kind of cookies and bread.

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