Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Таян Аллага

Таян Аллага

Bow to Allah - Religious Site - in Tatar / Cyrillic

Tatar Türkçesi Sözlüğü

Tatar Türkçesi Sözlüğü
Tatar / Turkish - Dictionary

Татар блоггеры - Tatar Bloggery

Татар блоггеры

This blog is written in Tatar in Cyrillic.

They write , "чын болгар-татар икәнебезне күрсәтик!"
"Chyn Bolgar-Tatar Ikenebezne Kursetik!"
"Let's Express Our True Bolgar Tatar Origins."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Religion Beliefs Ceremonies and Arts of Volga Tatars

Religious Beliefs. Islam, which the ancestors of the Volga Tatars adopted in 922, has been the religion that shaped their lives and culture for more than a millennium. Volga Tatars belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, and within it, to the Hanefite legal school. In the Soviet era they were under the jurisdiction of the Religious Board for the Muslims of European USSR and Siberia. The seat of the Board (Muftiat) was in Bashkiria, in the city of Ufa. The head of the Muftiat, Talgat Tadzhuddinov, was appointed to this post in 1980 and was actively involved in using the opportunities offered by the era of openness to secure more freedom of worship for the Volga Tatars. The celebrations of 1,100 years of Islam in the middle Volga that took place in the summer of 1989 mark the high point of this new era. Other developments include opening new mosques, returning to the use of the believers old mosques that had been given secular uses, teaching the Arabic script and the fundamentals of religion, and printing new editions of the Quran and prayer books, as well as rehabilitating some of the leading religious figures of years past, such as M. J. Bigi. At the parish level, the most prominent figures are the mullahs and imams who are responsible for the performance of rituals and the religious education of their parishioners. Women cannot occupy these positions, but as in years past, wives of mullahs and imams or older women conversant in the ritual and dogma lead prayers for women and instruct them in the dogma and ritual. They are called abïistays. 
Strict adherence to monotheism is required of every Muslim, and this fundamental obligation is expressed in the Shahadah (the profession of the creed): there is no God but God, and Mohammed is His Prophet. While adhering to this creed, Volga Tatars also honor saints and holy places, tombs associated with people whose lives were marked by special deeds and religious devotion. Some beliefs in supernatural forces still endure as remnants of the pre-Islamic history of the Volga Tatars, but overall, their influence on everyday life is minimal. One of these pre-Islamic traces is belief in the evil eye and the power of various amulets worn to annihilate its effect. 

Ceremonies. The religious calendar of the Volga Tatars includes several major events: the month of Uraza (fasting [one of the most important ceremonial obligations of all Muslims]); the feast that follows it, Uraza Bäyram (the feast of sacrifice); and Gait Kurban; as well as the celebration of the birth of the Prophet, marked by prayers called Mäwliud. In addition, Volga Tatars celebrate two other festivgals, both echoes of their pre-Islamic culture: Navruz (New Year), the celebration of the arrival of spring on March 21, and Sabantui, the Festival of the Plow. This festival is held before the beginning of the spring agricultural cycle and consists of a week-long ritual that culminates with a day of athletic competitions, song, and dance. 

Arts. Religious prohibitions were responsible for the absence of representative art among the Volga Tatars. Until the end of the nineteenth century, calligraphy and applied arts were the only forms that Volga Tatars embraced and developed. Of the calligraphers who specialized in the production of a religious art form— shämail (ornamented verses from the Quran)—the most famous in the nineteenth century was Ali Makhmudov. 

Representational art had its beginnings at the beginning of the twentieth century when Volga Tatars were engaged in the jadidist reform movement. The main thrust of this movement was to forge a symbiosis between tradition and modernity without altering the essence of the religious creed. The Volga Tatars emerged from this search with a restored sense of their identity and dedicated their efforts toward renewal of their educational system, art, and literature. Hence, their first representational artists emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century. They were M. Galeev and G. Gumerov. With every decade, new names were added: S. S. Akhun, N. K. Valiullin, B. M. Al'menov, F. Sh. Tagirov,. I. V. Rafikov, G. A. Rakhmankulova, L. A. Fattakhov, I. M. Khalilullov, Kh. A. Iakupov, and B. I. Urmanche—painter and sculptor, the doyen of Tatar art, who was active into the ninth decade of his life. 

Volga Tatar music differs drastically from the music of other Turkic peoples because of its monophonic structure that traditionally lacked instrumental accompaniment. Its modal basis is the pentatonic scale. Several genres of folk songs exist: ozïn koi (lyric-epic), qïsqa koi (dance songs), avïl koe (village song), shekher koe (city song), and bait (narrative epic). Twentieth-century singers, however, have opted for musical accompaniment. The instrument of choice is the accordion ( garmun' or baian ); some Volga Tatars also play the mandolin. 

Before the appearance of professional music at the beginning of the twentieth century, folk music dominated the musical life of the Volga Tatars. Tatar folk songs were first written down by Tatars such as G. Kh. Enikeev and G. G. Saifullin and Russians such as S. G. Rybakov in the nineteenth century. They have been collected and published since the 1930s, although some of the best collections, such as that of M. N. Nigmetzianov, were published in the 1970s. 

The first Tatar opera ( saniya ) was staged in 1925, but the operatic art has blossomed only since the 1930s. Ballet and symphonic music also developed, particularly after World War II. Among the most prominent Tatar composers are M. Z. Iarullin, A. G. Valiullin, F. A. Akhmetov, and D. I. Iakupov.
Tatar literature developed along two lines, oral folk literature and a written literature. Islam influenced both, but the Arabic script was the vehicle for the development of written literature, whether religious or secular, until the end of the 1920s. 

Some of the earliest monuments of Tatar written literature are Koi Gali's narrative love poem Yusuf and Zuläikha (thirteenth century) and Mukhammediar's didactic poems (sixteenth century). The literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was dominated by the religious (Sufi) poetry of Mävliya Kulï, Utïz Imäni, and Shamsetdin Zäki. In the nineteenth century, writers such as A. Kargalï and G. Kandalïy introduced themes of everyday life but also continued the tradition of religious odes.
The Tatar learned men of the nineteenth century were responsible for triggering the movement of reform and renewal that came to be known as jadidism. They were critics of scholasticism and some advanced anticlerical ideas, but all had an appreciation for enlightenment. Of these, A. Kursavi (1776-1818), Sh. Märjani (1813-1889), and Kayyum Nasiri (1825-1902) can be called the founders of modern Tatar culture. In the first decades of the twentieth century the Tatar national poet G. Tukay (1886-1913), romantic poets such as S. Ramiev (1880-1926) and Z. Ramiev (1859-1921), and revolutionary poets and writers such as G. Kulakhmetov (1881-1918), G. Ibragimov (1887-1937), and others flourished. 

The literature of Socialist Realism, which dominated the Soviet literary scene from the 1930s to the 1980s, did produce, despite the confining imperatives of ideology, some enduring names in Tatar letters: G. Bashirov, Sh. Mannur, F. Khusni, and I. Gazi.
Musa Jalil, whose World War II experiences were recorded in his Moabit Notebook, may be the best-known writer of the war period but there are many others such as S. Khakim, Isanbet, Sh. Mudarris, and N. Fattakh. 

The most notable developments of the post-World War II literature were the emergence of the "thaw" literature of the 1960s, represented by poets and writers such as I. Iuzeev, R. Kharisov, I. Aminov, T. Minnullin, and Zölfat, and the cultural explosion of the perestroika period, characterized by an effort to revitalize and retrieve the cultural values of the past and by a determination to save from extinction the main vehicle for the transmission of Tatar culture—the Tatar language. 

More on Tatars in China

Mosque in Quanzhou - China - above

Mosque in Beijing - China - above

Hui Mosque in Ningxia - China - above

Great Mosque in Xian - China
Great Mosque in Xian - China
Great Mosque in Xian - China

We've posted several photos of Mosques in China to show that China has a sizable Muslim population. Among these are Tatars and Uyghurs.

The Tatar ethnic minority live mainly in Yining, Tacheng and Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Historically this minority was known as Dada and first was mentioned in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). The national census in 2000 recorded 4,890 Tatars.

Language and Character:
The Tatars have their own language which is a member of the Turkic subgroup of the Altaic phylum. They also speak and write Uygur and Kazak due to mixing with these minorities.

Food and Food Customs:
The Tatars are sustained primarily by commerce, supplemented by live stock husbandry, agriculture and handicrafts. They like to eat flour food, meat and milk, often served with rice. The Tatar women are proud of their culinary skills. They bake cakes made of flour, rice, cheese, egg, butter, raisin, etc, and the cakes made of meat and rice. For drink, they brew a honey wine which tastes like beer.

Etiquette is very important for the Tatars. When family members sit at a dining table; the most senior is served first, followed by the rest ordered by age. Dinner is not complete until ended with a prayer. In their daily life, they greet each other by shaking hands; they respect the old people and treat guests warmly; and they do not joke with women, and so on.

The clothes of the Tatar are dainty. Women wear one-piece dress and hat decorated with pearls; even men wear black hats and white shirt both of which are embroidered intricately. Tatar women embroider flower motifs on clothes, pillows, coverlets, table cloths, curtains, and especially wedding dresses.
Islam is the major component of Tatar culture, affecting all aspects of their lives. The most important festivals are the Kaizhai Festival, Corban Festival, and Almsgiving Festival.
The Tatars are a lively and vivacious people. They have many distinctive amusements and sports that are held during festivals, such as dance, wrestling, horse racing, and pole climbing.

Tatarstan Culture

Tatarstan Culture

Location: The Republic of Tatarstan is located in the eastern most part of Europe between the Volga and the Kama rivers. It is approximately 68,000 square kilometers in size stretching 290 km from north to south and approximately 460 km from east to west. In the north, Tatarstan borders the Kirovsky region, the Republic of Udmurtia, and the Republic of Mari-El. On the west, Tatarstan is bordered by Chuvashia and to the east is the Republic of Bashkortostan. To the south of the Republican of Tatarsan are the regions of Samara, Orenburg, and Ulyanovsk.
History: The history of the Tatarsan people dates back to the Paleolithic period about 100,000 years ago. Historically, the state called Volga-Kama-Bulgaria emerged at the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th century. It was the only developed state in eastern Europe for hundreds of years. In 1236, the Volga-Kama-Bulgaria state was invaded by the Mongol-Tatars. The state then became part of the Turkic state called Zolotaya Orda. Eventually Zolotaya Orda collapsed and many new states arose including the Kazan Khanate, which was the most prominent. It inherited many things from the Volga-Kama-Bulgaria state, such as ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural and trade-economic traditions.
After numerous wars and struggles, the seizure of Kazan in 1552 finally annexed the Kazan Khanate into the Russian state. After the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was founded in 1920. The Declaration on State Sovereignty of Tatarsan was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic on August 30, 1990. It was also confirmed by a referendum in 1992. The Republic of Tatarstan, part of the Russian Federation, is a sovereign state. The Tatars and the Russians significantly influenced each others culture, making both culturally rich. The Tatars adopted agricultural and construction methods and crafts from the Russians, and the Russians adopted some cultural achievements from the Tatars as well.
Culture: Literature is an important element in Tatarstan culture. Turkic writing has been found dating from the 5th – 7th centuries. The Moslem religion came to Volga-Kama-Bulgaria along with the Arabic script in the 10th century. The first books in the Tatar language were published in the 18th century... There are also 170 issues of periodicals and approximately 30 magazines.
In the Republic of Tatarstan there are 16 professional theatres, a conservatory, a state symphonic orchestra, museums and many libraries. Some of the major festivals and holidays are the Festival of Classic Ballet named after the famous dancer Rudolf Nuriev. Another famous holiday is Curban Bairam, based on the lunar calendar. The main businesses give up a whole business week for the festival. Some of the major holidays are the New Years celebration that is celebrated from December 31st to January 2nd, the Orthodox Christmas falls on January 7th, and The Day of Foundation of the Republic of Tatarstan lands on August 30th.

Tatars in Azerbaijan

The Tatar of Azerbaijan number about 30.000, may live in the Baku area while others are spread throughout the country. The Tatar are a group of Turkic people who have substantial colonies in virtually every republic of the former Soviet Union. While the main population is centered around the Volga region, some also live in many of the Central Asian republics.
The physical appearance of the Tatar varies from blue-eyed blondes to more Mongoloid features. In general, they have oval faces with little facial hair. They speak a unique language called Kazan Tatar, although many now claim Russian as their mother tongue. They are a settled people, mostly peasants and merchants, who have completely lost their traditional tribal structure.
The Tatar have had a strongly urbanized civilization since the tenth century. It has survived both the Mongol invasion of the thirteenth century and the Russian conquest of the sixteenth century. In the 1800's, Tatar cities ranked among the greatest cultural centers of the Islamic world.
The Tatar often seek work outside their native region, following a trend of mobility established before 1917. Some work in manufacturing industries and petroleum refineries. Many work in farms where they raise grains, hemp, legumes, and other fodder crops.
In urban areas, the Tatar live no differently than modern Azeris. However, those living in rural areas still hold to their pre-Revolutionary traditions. For example, up to three generations may live under one roof. Today, there are no villages with a strictly Tatar population.
Among the Tatar, the father is the legal head of the household. He is also in charge of the family income and how it is spent. The women usually cook, carry water, wash clothes, and tend to the livestock while the men do more strenuous labor.
Although the Tatar are primarily Islamic, many still observe sabantuy, or "rites of spring." This is an ancient agricultural festival that is celebrated simultaneously with the anniversary of the founding of the Russian Tatar Republic on June 25. These celebrations have their origins in shamanism (the belief in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits).
The younger generation of Tatar wear contemporary city-style clothes. However, the older collective farm members wear traditional dress. Many Tatar will identify themselves as Muslims before they will identify themselves as Tatar. Unlike devout Muslims, however, 25% of the Tatar will eat pork. Soviet researchers have also reported that very few Tatar observe the prescribed Islamic fasts.
Most of the Tatar are Hanafite Muslim. While Muslims believe that there is only one god, many Tatar still honor saints and holy places. Some beliefs in supernatural powers such as the "evil eye" (the ability to curse someone with a glance) still exist from their pre-Islamic days.
The Tatar's Volga area has been an Islamic stronghold since the ninth century. Nevertheless, the Tatar's beliefs remain more liberal and intellectual than the beliefs held by the more orthodox Muslims of Central Asia or the Caucasus. For instance, in many of their mosques, prayer times have been arranged so as not to conflict with work schedules. Women have also been encouraged to join the men at the mosques, instead of praying at home, as is the usual custom.
The Tatar's view of Christianity has been scarred by the Russian Orthodox Church's attempts to convert them through coercion. During the 1600's and 1800's, their mosques were frequently burned. The few who were "converted" by these measures returned to their Islamic faith when oppression ended.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010