Several ethnic groups living in the vast lap of Iran, each of which has its mysterious and distinctive customs, traditions, and culture. What brings the most attention is the coexistence of these different ethnic groups with identifying spirits in the common land. In the world of distinguishing the attractive land of Persia, we want to introduce the great and brave Shirazi tribe, the Qashqai Tribe. Fars province nomads include Qashqai, Khamseh, Lur Mamasani, and Lur Boyer-Ahmadi, tribes.
Qashqai Tribe Introduction
The Qashqai tribe has the largest nomadic population in the province. You can see the Qashqai people mostly in Fars province, located in the southwest of Iran, and the hillsides as dazzling landscapes of the Zagros Mountains. The great Qashqai tribe, with its ancient history and large population, shines among the Persian tribes. Courageous people who never want to be receptive to sorrow. Qashqai Women represent a reputation for beautiful and irreplaceable colours of red, orange, pink, and blue among the universe colours. We should mention the diligent Qashqais as personas who consider resistance to any problem as the top priority of their activities.
Their life is tied to nature, as after centuries, the Qashqai nomads continue to migrate to summer and winter areas in different seasons of the year. The most extensive summer and winter territory, where contains the south of Iran to Tabriz, belongs to Qashqais. Accordingly, Nissan has named one of its products as Nissan Qashqai and launch it to the Middle East market due to the hardworking nature of such a tribe.
Qashqais’ Nomads Origins
Some Qashqai tribes believe that they came to Persia from Turkestan. They consider themselves commanders and guards of the Holakokhan and Timur armies. However, the presence of the Moghanlou tribe in the Qashqai community supports the possibility that they lived in northwestern Persia someday. Since the tribe’s name is taken from Dasht-e Moghan, known as Hamishe-Bahar plain and located in the north of Ardabil. They even believe that Ardabil was their former place of residence.
Nomads of the Qashqai tribe is one of the tribal unions of Persia composed of tribes with different ethnic roots such as Lurs, Kurds, Persian-Arabs, and Turks, but most of them have Azeri origins, and they are Shi’a. The population of this tribe was about half a million around 30 years ago, however, now it is estimated more than one million people.
Qashqai Tribe Territories in Persia
The establishment of Azeri tribes in various parts of Persia intensified during the Seljuk, Timurid, and Safavid eras. Although the Qashqais gradually migrated and settled in this land in different periods, Fars province is the main centre of Qashqai nomadic life. Due to the vastness of land and territory, they also live in other provinces include the provinces of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Khuzestan, Isfahan, Qom, Markazi, and Bushehr.
The language is Qashqai Azeri. Such a language is one of the dialect branches of Azeri languages (Azeri Aghuz) in the southwestern dialects. Though, the German-Iranian scholar and Turkologist Gerhard Düffer has Kowalski’s opinion about this language. He had spoken in various forms about the similarity of the Qashqai Azeri language with the Azeri dialect of Azerbaijan.
There are many theories about the tribe’s name, but the most acceptable one is the first one presented by Vasily Barthold. According to Barthold, the name Qashqai comes from the Azeri word Qashqa meaning “white-fronted horse”. The Qashqais believe that white-fronted horses bring good luck to them.
Qashqai men wear a white sleeveless shirt, loose black trousers, robes that are fastened with a scarf or belt, and a black felt hat called burqa. Some men also wear leather jackets and felt vests. Their shoes are the same as other tribes of Giveh. They also wear a thin cloak called chogha for celebrations, hunting, and war. Rifles, knives, daggers, swords, and clubs are also important details of men’s grooming, and closing the train of bullets is an honor. Interesting to know, in the past, the men of different Qashqai tribes could be distinguished by their belts and the way their bullet train was fastened.
Women in this clan are distinguished by their voluminous multi-layered skirt (shalitah, tanban), a tunic (qinaq) with slits on both sides, a short jacket (arkhalq), and the long headscarves (charghad) pinned under their chin. The nomad clothes from any tribe are of exclusive interest due to their customs, traditions, beliefs, and geographical location. Nomadic clothing is such that in addition to covering the body, showing dignity and beauty, does not deprive the comfort as well as it is appropriate according to the people’s lifestyle.
The Qashqais are sparkling, cheerful people who are interested in celebrating and dancing. During ceremonies and weddings, the group dance of men and women dancing with a stick is wonderful and exciting. In such celebrations, men and women each hold two handkerchiefs, stand around a large circle, shake the handkerchiefs to the tune of horns and drums, and move forward in rhythmic movements. In the dance of Dermaro or wood playing, men dance and fight in pairs, with short and long sticks in their hands. Qashqais are also enjoy drinking tea and smoking hookah.
The Qashqais are affected by the death of the Khan (chief of the tribe) as their loved ones and children. Qashqai cemeteries are located on the way to immigration that they can pray for their dead men. Due to the respect they have for Khans, they build magnificent and solid tombs for the Khan that remain for many years and are visited every year during the migration. The Qashqai tribe and the nomadic community of Persia is a productive community that posses the highest production and efficiency with the lowest expectations and facilities.
Qashqai Tribe Profession
Livestock breeding (sheep and goats) is one of the essential professions of the Qashqai tribe, through which thousands of tons of red meat, various dairy products, sheep wool, and goat hair are produced annually. Nomads in Fars province own 7.5 million hectares (67%) of the province’s rangelands. The Qashqais engage in agriculture and horticulture during cold and hot days; their products are wheat, barley, rice, legumes, vegetables, citrus fruits, and dates. Women cooperate with men in everything; after harvesting and paying the royalties, the women store the rest of the produce in bags and sacks or sell them.
Qashqai Women’s Role
All housework have done by women. The tribes’ girls and women collect their firewood from the mountains and plains every morning, then fill the water tanks from the river or spring, turn their backs, and bring them to the tent. Wheat and rice are then pounded in wooden mortars called Divak and peeled. When rubbing, a special song is whispered by women called “rice pounding”. Then, the bread flour is kneaded and baked. The bread would be baken on metal trays. The other dishes are prepared on the stoves in front of the tent. Women make dairy products from milk, including butter, yogurt, curd, Ghare Ghoroot, and buttermilk. The yogurt is hung in jars attached to a wooden tripod and shaken until butter and buttermilk are obtained.
Among the most valuable handicrafts of the Qashqais, we can mention carpet weaving, Kilim weaving, Jajim weaving, bag weaving, Gabbeh weaving, as well as Rend and wheel weaves. Generally, the handicrafts production is done by women, from the start point to the end. Furthermore, other creations such as rope weaving and Chiq weaving (for the consumables production) are also made by Qashqais.
The tribal tents, called Bohun, are woven from goat hair and are black. These rectangular tents consist of diverse parts, including the roof, the edges around the tent, beams, a few pieces of Kamaj or Kamajeh, straps, some long and small wooden pegs called Shish, and the wrapper or Chiq or Ney Chi. The Latafs are woven in the same material as the roof and black colour. The Lataf’s width is one meter, and its length is indefinite, sometimes up to ten meters.
These elements are attached to the ceiling with small wooden nails called Shish. Beams and joists support the roof of the tent. The ends of the beams are aligned under the shelter, in the hole of the joints. Interesting to know, the tent’s shape is different in summer and winter. In winter, most beams are installed in the middle and across the tent, forming the roof into a cone. So that when it rains, water descends from the roof’s edge to the ground. A small area is dug around the tent where rainwater flows. In summer and spring, the beams are installed around the tent so that the roof is smooth, however. There is a wall in summer tents, only in where the furniture and beds are.
Qashqai Tribe Music
The original and superior art of Qashqai music has always been significant among the tribe’s men. Its soothing sound, as it always came from the heart, fits into the human soul. Having aroused emotions, the sound of shepherd’s Ney Labbik (music instrument) stimulates turmoil and grief senses. Although most of the time, the sound of Qashqai music is joyful as it is based on nature’s love and the inner self tumult, it sometimes reflects sadness. It may also have witnessed epic excitement in people at some point in time. You should know that due to the constant migration of nomads, their music is still genuine. The music brings peace and calmness to mind, heart, and spirit.