Abdal of Turkey

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The Abdal are a socio-cultural group found mainly in central and western Anatolia, who follow an itinerant lifestyle. This lifestyle is closely connected with the activity of music making at weddings. Other occupations associated with the Abdal include tinning, basket making and sieve manufacture. They do not seem to be related with the Abdal of South Asia. The Kurds often entitle the Abdal as Gawanda.[1]

Origin[edit]

The three most remarkable characteristics of the group are its close relationship with the Alevi sect, its use of a secret language or argot and its wide distribution. It seems that the name Abdal was associated with Alevi dervishes of Central Anatolia, whose existence is first recorded in the 16th Century. These Abdalan-ı Rum were extreme Alevis practicising celibacy and withdrawal from the world. Their unorthodox behavior led to their suppression by the Ottoman authorities.[citation needed] At least some of the present day Abdals are descended from these groups. The Abdal language consists of borrowing from Persian and other Iranian sources, some Kurdish and Romany with an essentially Turkish grammar. A possible connection with the Romani people is seen by the facts two of their subdivisions are the Gurbet and Kara Domen, signifying possible links with the Gurbati of Iran and the Dom of the Arab Middle East. According to the Abdal themselves, they came from originally from Khorasan in Iran, and are a tribe of Turkmen.[2]

In south western Turkey, the Abdal play a particular role as musicians, minstrels, jewelers and magicians to the nomadic Barak Turkmen, as a dependent group. Abdal encampments are found at the edges of the Turkmen camps. A similar relationship also exists with certain Kurdish tribes. In the area north of Ankara, many Abdal are sedentary, but associated with certain socially demeaning activities as circumcision and barbering.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Abdal by Peter Alford Andrews pages 435 to 438 in Ethnic groups in the Republic of Turkey / compiled and edited by Peter Alford Andrews, with the assistance of Rüdiger Benninghaus (Wiesbaden : Dr. Ludwig Reichert, 1989) ISBN 3-88226-418-7
  2. ^ Abdal by Peter Alford Andrews pages 435 to 438 in Ethnic groups in the Republic of Turkey / compiled and edited by Peter Alford Andrews, with the assistance of Rüdiger Benninghaus (Wiesbaden : Dr. Ludwig Reichert, 1989) ISBN 3-88226-418-7
  3. ^ Marginal Groups and Itinerants by Ingvar Savanberg pages 602 to 612 in Ethnic groups in the Republic of Turkey / compiled and edited by Peter Alford Andrews, with the assistance of Rüdiger Benninghaus (Wiesbaden : Dr. Ludwig Reichert, 1989) ISBN 3-88226-418-7