Bakhtiari people

Bakhtiari people are one of the largest Iran Ethnic group living among the oak forests of the beautiful slopes of Zagros and in southwestern Iran. Bakhtiari Tribe is an evidence of the bravery. You may see this tribe in the enchanting nature of the snowy mountain range, in the stunning greenery of the forests, in the beauty of rivers and waterfalls. The life of Bakhtiari people is wonderful. In the following we will tell you more about the history of Bakhtiari people, ethnography, the role of Bakhtiari nomadic, ritual and customs, groups of Bakhtiari people and tribe, population and handicrafts of Bakhtiari tribe.

Bakhtiari man
Bakhtiari man

Bakhtiari people, are one of the most populous tribes in Iran. They mostly live in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Lorestan, Khuzestan, Isfahan and Kohgiluye and Boyer Ahmad provinces. Bakhtiari people belong to the Bakhtiari tribe, but nowadays, these people are urbanized in different provinces.

The photos of this post were taken by Mr. Hassan Moghimi. He was also helped us to provide this article in original language, which is Persian.

Bakhtiari tribe passing the river
Bakhtiari tribe passing the river

Bakhtiari tribes and the heroes of shooting and hunting

Here we will dedicate the pleasant and attractive aspects of the strong and beautiful Bakhtiari tribe. We will explain you about the race and linage of the Bakhtiari tribe. In addition to this, we will talk about their political situation, the names of Bakhtiari people and about the two group of Bakhtiari which are Chahar Lang and Haft Lang. also we will tell you about the ceremonies and festivals the bakhtiari people have during their marriage, funeral, birth of a baby and etc.

It is good to know about the religion, and also the lovely food of Bakhtiari tribe. We also will tell you about the fauna and flora in the residential areas of this people. and the handicraft made by Bakhtiari women with love. So be with us and read the rest if you would like to know more about the Bakhtiari Tribe in Iran.

Black tent of bakhtiari people
Black tent of bakhtiari people

Origin, lineage and race of Bakhtiari tribes

You should know that similar to most of the tribes and groups in Iran, the Bakhtiari tribes also have their roots in the Aryan race and consider their origin as Aryan. In fact, the Bakhtiari ethnicity belongs to the Lor community of the country. So Lors are divided into two groups of large Lors, known as Bakhtiari and small Lors, in Lorestan, on the other hand also lang. but as we mentioned before they are divided mostly in two major groups known as Chahar Lang and Haft Lang. In fact, Haft Lang is one of the greatest nations in the world.

Bakhtiari tribe in Zagros mountains
Bakhtiari tribe in Zagros mountains

Bakhtiari History

It seems that there are many narrations about the name of the name of this nation. But the pure meaning of the word Bakhtiari comes from being lucky and happy. But it also may come from the ruler of this tribe and people, Bakhtiar. Also during the Safavid dynasty, the name of Mirza Jahangir Khan was known by the word, Shakil Bakhtiar. Perhaps, this name goes back to one of Mirza Jahangir Khan’s ancestors.

daily life of bakhtiari people
daily life of bakhtiari people

War between Arabs and Bakhtiari Tribe

Shortly after the defeat of Mohammad Taghi Khan Chahar Lang Bakhtiari, a group of women and children of the Bakhtiari tribe, along with hundred and twele horsemen of Bakhtiari, went to the mountains of Bakhtiar to be safe. This group was led by Ismaeel Makvand, known as Kasmal, they encountered about 1500 Arabs in Czech Cedar area. The leader of Arabs, was Shaikh Hamid bin Ahmed Sharifat. In order to be close to Manouchehr Khan Gorji, this person intended to kill the bakhtiari people on his behalf. Manouchehr Khan became one of the courtiers during the region of Fath Ali Shah. Sahrifat intended to covet and reach out to the beautiful women, property and spoils of the people. but, fourteen riders from the Bakhtiari tribe carried out the destruction of women in case of defeat.

At the same time, the women of three tribes braided their hair in such a way to save the arrow by shooting three people together. While confronting the Arabs, Kasmal, started his speech and used precise war tactics and invited the men of bakhtiari to war.

Stone lions
Stone lions

And each bakhtiari man fought just like a lion. They also defeated and fled, despite the multiplicity of Arabs, flags and weapons. Thus, in this war, Arabs suffered a humiliating defeat. Finally, in addition to defeating the Arabs, the bakhtiari people were able to gain many captives and even spoils. This event took place in 1220 AH.

Bakhtiari women
Bakhtiari women

Bakhtiari tribe

It is good to know that the Bakhtiari race consists of a group of groups that gradually migrated to Bakhtiari land. By combining life with the native, they were able to form a tribe with political and social conditions called Bakhtiari. The bakhtiari people were considered as a part of the great Lor. Also, Bakhtiari tribe is divided into two groups called Chahar Lang and Haft Lang. each of them can represent a branch of the Bakhtiari tribe.

The difference between Lor and Bakhtiari

In fact, we are going to tell you that despite some people are thinking these two tribes are different, but they are the same. And it is only the difference between words. In general, Lor and Bakhtiari both are same tribe. Both have the same history and root. So there is no difference between Lor and Bakhtiari tribe.

Bakhtiari Man
Bakhtiari Man

The hunting tradition between Bakhtiari tribe

It is interesting to know that the Bakhtiari tribe does not allowed to hunt all kind of living animal. They try not to kill female or young animals. And they hunt the old and male ones usually.

They believe some birds, are so appropriate for hunting.

Waterfall in Zagros mountains
Waterfall in Zagros mountains

Weddings in Bakhtiari tribe

Another interesting thing about Bakhtiari tribe is their weddings. They usually have family marriages. In old days, immediately after a baby was born, they made it clear and fix that to whom the girl or boy will marry in the future. We doubt if the family marriage still be there but it usually is between known people. they have so many interesting traditions on weddings and special performing and music.

Bakhtiari wedding ceremony
Bakhtiari wedding ceremony

Dowry in Bakhtiari tribes

It is a fixed and old tradition that the groom, should give a valuable gift or some golds or cash to his mother in law. This gift, gold or cash is for the milk the mother gave to her daughter. And the most interested thing is that this money would be spent on dowry to buy necessary household stuff.

colorful clothes of Bakhtiari people inn wedding
colorful clothes of Bakhtiari people inn wedding

The bride herself will make the rug and carpet, for they are best in this art. Usually the bride’s father will buy few things and send them to his daughter and son in law’s house. Some also give their daughters a male cow, or a horse. And a very common, traditional and interesting part is that the Bakhtiari Bride should take a copper tub, for taking a bath. To be honest these kinds of traditions you may find everywhere and in so many different ways, but the tribes have the most interesting and different traditions all around the world.

Spring migration of bakhtiari people
Spring migration of bakhtiari people

Mourning Ceremony in Bakhtiari Tribe

When someone passes away in Bakhtiari tribe, the most important thing is that the other relatives and friends never will leave the mourner family. They try to sit with them and help them in all ways. The tradition is to wear black clothes. The mourner family will make a black tent as well, so the whole family and relatives can come even from far distances and stay with them. a very interesting and respected tradition is the people who come to visit the mourner family, will pay for the food and everything to help the family with their fund situation.

stone lion
stone lion

During the mourning ceremony, usually men stand a bit far from women, and the women cry and sing a sad song for the person passed away.

Shaikh Ali Khan Waterfall in Koohrang
Shaikh Ali Khan Waterfall in Koohrang

Riding in Bakhtiari tribe

Horse is the most important animal along with tribes where they ride and travel with them. And it is good to know that all people in Bakhtiari tribe know how to ride a horse. This animal is raised by the bakhtiari people from birth. At the age of three, a saddle will be tied around the horse’s back to prepare them for loading. After the carrying the load several times, the horse is definitely tired and wants a little rest. This will repeat several times and then the horse is ready. In this way the horse will be ready for riding or carrying more time. Horse are used also in mourning and wedding ceremonies and also games. Indeed, the Bakhtiari horse should be considered as one of the most beautiful horse breeds.

Bakhtiari people crossing the river
Bakhtiari people crossing the river

Are Bkahtiari people Greeks?

There are two theories about the origin of the Bkahtiari people. the first one is based on the sayings and researches of some anthropologists such as Wilson, WHO, citing scientific articles by Loimer, say: “The bakhtiari dialect is originally Iranian mixed with old Pahlavi words. Also a mixture of Arabic, Turkish and Kurdish with tribal roots.

The second theory is based on the words of another researcher, Schneider. He believed that the Bakhtiari were non-Iranians of Greek, Turkish and Mongol descent. Deciding on this important issue requires more research and knowing the name of the word Bakhtiari. At the end what is important is that they are Iranian and live in Iran.

summer settlements of Bakhtiari nomads
summer settlements of Bakhtiari nomads

Shooting in Bakhtiari culture

You should know that living in the desert, mountains and having difficult living conditions, made the shooting skills system necessary for the Bakhtiari tribes community. Even the need for defense makes it compulsory to learn this mastery. The Bakhtiari tribes have excelled in shooting and hunting since ancient times and were very skilled in shooting. The best and the most interesting part is that the Bakhtiari people has the art of shooting the target while riding. The art of shooting and equestrianism are among the basic teachings of Bakhtiari parents to their children. Indeed, people have witnessed the struggle of the heroes of the Bakhtiari tribes using this art in the Iran-Iraq war. Bakhtiari tribes use the art of shooting, including equestrianism. On various occasions such as mourning, weddings and other celebrations.

Bakhtiari Tribe
Bakhtiari Tribe

Tradition and beliefs of Bakhtiari people

The bakhtiari tribe sometimes has beliefs in life that have their roots in religion, nature, guns, livestock, mountains and plains. Beliefs that, while simple, can sometimes be broken. Among them, Bakhtiari relatives consider that women as valuable and respectable if the first child is a boy. Having a son is synonymous with increasing the power of warfare, originality, preservation and transmission of the culture of the elders.

Old tombstone in Lorestan
Old tombstone in Lorestan

If a person does not have a son, he is considered a blind man. They also believe in the old belief that the star is evil. The Bakhtiari people believe that when they leave home, they should not migrate and encounter this star in the sky. Indeed, the Bakhtiari people believe that avoiding evil, through sacrifice and shedding blood. Such beliefs are intertwined with the lives of Bakhtiari tribes and are the basis of the changes in their lives.

Black tent of bakhtiari people
Black tent of bakhtiari people

Women’s clothing in the Bakhtiari tribe

The most colorful clothes belong to women of Bakhtiari tribe for sure. They use a large silk scarf. This scarf is rectangular in shape. They use a decorative hat called Lak. Which is decorated by coins, pearls and sequins and is placed under the scarf. There also is a silver chain, which uses to hold the scarf and stains firmly. This chain has a nice decoration which manifests itself in a special way. And the blouse or shirt or the outfit which is being used for the upper body, should cover till knee and usually has a slit. The trousers which are usually made of velvet fabric, are pleated trousers. The velvet vest also worn over the shirt. And the shoes, Bakhtiari women’s shoes are made of leather and are called sash.

Bakhtiari Woman
Bakhtiari Woman

Men’s clothing in Bakhtiari tribe

Men in Bakhtiari tribe, use a fleece top called Chokha or Chogha. This unique outfit has a height below the knee and is in a beautiful combination of black and white lines. The combination of the colors in Chogha can be a symbol of good and evil. so Bakhtiari pants which men use have very wide slippers called debit, it is good to know that these pants are only in black color.

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Bakhtiari tribes usually wear these pants with coat and leather belt. The men use a black color hat on their head which is the sign of greatness. The shoes which men in bakhtiari tribe use are known as Give Maleki. It is handmade shoes with leather sole.

Bakhtiari Man
Bakhtiari Man

Women role in bakhtiari tribe

Now it is the time to talk more about the brave women of Bakhtiari tribe. The most famous Bakhtiari woman named Bibi Maryam Bkahtiari, daughter of Hossein Gholi Khan. She was known as Sardar Maryam, who had a free mind and was fluent in several world languages. She has a myth between Bakhtiari people. in general, bakhtiari women always walks and lives next to her people and to take care of not only the family but also the whole tribe. Women are the main pillar of any effort in Bakhtiari tribe.

More about Bakhtiari women

Bakhtiari women even fights alongside the men. Bakhtiari wife breaks the woods for fire and work in the farm. They bake the bread in such deep and really scary ground ovens. Bakhtiari woman doesn’t know what is the fear. They also have the art of weaving carpets and rugs. and are so talented in handicrafts. They stand by their husbands after marriage. And also they are best mothers to children.

Arts and crafts in Bakhtiari tribe

The art is a powerful thing between Bakhtiari people and specially women. The most important field of art between bakhtiari people is the carpet. Which is the product of bakhtiari nomadic artists and women. Bakhtiari women make carpets from dyed wool yarn. The other art between bakhtiari people is felt. Felt cloth is used to make blanket, vests, capes and so on. You can also find a special footwear made by hand or some outfit made by felt. To conclude, mostly you can find everything made by hand in bakhtiari people.

Bakhtiari tribe- Bakhtiari people
Bakhtiari tribe- Bakhtiari people

Food in bakhtiari tribe

At the end, it is time to talk about delicious food of bakhtiari tribe. The most famous bakhtiari food is kebab and the popular type of bakhtiari kebab. Except for kebab you can find delicious soups there. Tomato pilaf is a popular dish of bakhtiari tribes in which mutton is cooked separately. They put a coin in meatballs during the Eid dinner. And they believe good things will happen to the person who gets the meatball with coin. They have so many other traditional and delicious food with meat, chicken and also liver. And also so many different soups.

Bakhtiari people

Bakhtiari people is one of the largest nomadic tribes of Iran, having two main groups of Haft Lang and Chahar Lang. Colorful and brave, full of stories and rich history, full of heroes and heroics.

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