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Hola Hola Tawusi Melek, Hola Hola Şehidêt Şingalê: Persecution and the Development of Yezidi Ritual Life


  • Eszter Spat

    () (Central European University, Budapest, Hungary)


Holidays and associated rituals have always played a crucial role in Yezidi religious life. The attack of ISIS on Yezidis and the subsequent displacement of more than half the community has had a profound impact on the way these holidays can be celebrated. The fact that the Sinjari Yezidi community has lost access to its sacred landscape, which is the traditional focus of much ritual activity, as well as a semi-official ban on any public form of rejoicing at a time of mourning, constitute a threat to the continuation of ritual life. However, contrary to expectations, Yezidi religious and ritual life has become more intense rather than declining in the wake of the ISIS attack. The driving forces behind this phenomenon are the need for supernatural help, new opportunities, and a sense of defiance. The daily mixing of the two communities, local Yezidis and Sinjari refugees, with diverse traditions, has also led to an enrichment of ritual life and a new awareness of the multiform nature of Yezidi traditions as people exchange and adopt new customs.

Suggested Citation

  • Eszter Spat, 2016. "Hola Hola Tawusi Melek, Hola Hola Şehidêt Şingalê: Persecution and the Development of Yezidi Ritual Life," Kurdish Studies, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 4(2), pages 155-175, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:ksjrnl:v:4:y:2016:i:2:p:155-175

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    Yezidis; religion; rituals; ISIS; syncretism.;


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