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                    Religion

        Conag is an alevite village. In the past religious leaders came from the villages Xaculi und Kır to lead the “Cem” and “Gulbang”. But after the Enlightenment trials that took place in the seventies, the descendants of these scholars, who studied in town, no longer practice these rituals.
Some Conag people in the city, because of the vacuum that was created, were influenced by Sunnism and pray in Mosques, instead of practicing “Cem”. In general however, Conag people are not very strictly religious; they tend to laity and democracy.
The prayers of the old village people bear similarities to primitive religions / animism / nature worship (Naturglaube). They for instance worship the moon at full moon. In the morning when they go out they look at the sun, pray and ask for blessings. For the people in Conag water wells are also holy.
Except for the well in Sılbus, there are also wells in Xıldıryês, Ziyareta Goman, Kanya Mêrga axe and Kanya Jêrın that are pilgrim’s places. There are still sacrificial ceremonies taking place at the well. Afterwards people have a meal at the well and socialize.
One of the worst curses in Conag and its surroundings is “Ocagın sönsün”, which means ‘may the fire in your oven be extinguished’ (muss diese Paragraph in gegenwortige oder vergangene Zeit?). People try not to let the fire quench. At night they cover the remaining glowing bits of wood with ash, and in the morning they poke up the fire again. It is considered to be a bad omen if the fire has extinguished.

Kewri Reş
  The rock Kewri Reş (English: black rock) behind the Conag Village is a holy place as well. It was a place for sacrificing. Although there is no water on this high hill behind the village, there is a sacrificial ceremony there at least once a year. Kewri Reş is a stony rock and there is also a small cave in the rock.
The respect that the Conag people have for the environment provides us with clues about the religion of their forefathers in history. It is a known fact that Iranians, Armenians, Kurdish and other people that lived in this region were followers of Zarathustra.

Although now these peoples have different religions, their religions and traditions still have a lot in common. Before the Islamic and Christian times the basic elements of live, water, earth and fire, were considered to be holy.

Mevlit
At the third and 40th day after someone has died, and each year afterwards a Mevlit is read in the village for the deceased. In early times this was read in the Kurdish language, now it is read in Turkish. In the past few years at some ‘Mevlit’ days, some passages were read in Kurdish again.

      Ziyaret

There is a pilgrim’s place in Conag were people are healed. People say that especially the mentally ill are being cured, after they have spent the night at the place. In this pilgrim’s place a cock is sacrificed an a little bit of its blood is put on the patient’s forehead. Subsequently the sacrificed cock is offered to someone in the village. People from several villages come to this pilgrim’s place. Some powder like earth “teberik” is put in the pilgrim’s mouth. Teberik is very thin and smooth earth. The patient sleeps at the pilgrim’s place with a companion until sunrise.


People think that this pilgrimage place has existed fairly long already. It is said that it used to be a pilgrimage place for the Armenian. Because of the stones that are to be found in the place, people say that it used to be a "vank" or "türbe".

The Conag teachers
Until 1927 the Arabic script was used in Turkey. The people in our area, when the circumstances allowed this, could learn to read and write in the old (Arabic) script, like this was also common in other regions in Turkey. Three people from Conag have even achieved more, as they were teachers in Conag. In contrast to the present teachers they taught in the old script and were also able to read “Mevlit”. Their names were Husên efendi (Hüsein Seven), Aliyê Xece (Ali Özer, father from Ismail Özer) ve Silêmani Besê (Süleyman Tan).
These teachers were, contrary to many fanatic religious teachers, ordinary people and participated in the production work, just like all the other people from the village.
The history of Silemani Besê is still gladly told. He was a quiet, respectful, harmless person who went along the houses praying each Thursday. After his round he used to go home to drink Rakı and smoke. Süleymanê Besê was a close friend of an alevite religious scholar Arif Hoca from Elazığ. When Arif Hoca came to Conag he said that he wanted to spend the night in a house where no children or women lived. It is said the true reason for this is that he just wanted to be able to smoke in peace.

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