The Tajik People
The Tajiks are Persian
converts to Islam who, after taking part in invasions of Turkestan (Central
Asia or "Transoxiana”) to gain from
the Turks strategic and wealthy Silk Road cities, settled there. Thus, Tajik people are a genetically diverse
population, displaying a wide range of phenotypes. Around 10% of Tajiks are said to have
blond hair (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tajiks). Recently, following the collapse of
the Soviet Union and civil war in Afghanistan, the Tajik people are seeking to
return to their roots: many are dropping the ov and ev suffixes from their
names, and switch back to using a Persian script instead of Cyrillic.
DEMOGRAPHICS: 16-20 million (mainly in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and
LANGUAGE: Persian, with variants of Dari and Tajiki, Yaghnobis and Pamiri; Russian for
FAITH/RELIGION: 98% Muslim, (approximately
85% Sunni and 5% Shia); historically Zoroastrianism and
CULTURE/ART: Much of the art and philosophy can be traced back to
Ferdowsi, a 10th century poet whose epic Persian poem Shahnameh ("Book of Kings”) is
considered one of the great literary masterpieces of all time. Check out a
quote from Shahnameh below:
"Listen: this story's one you
ought to know,
You'll reap the consequence of what you sow.
This fleeting world is not the world where we
Are destined to abide eternally:
And for the sake of an unworthy throne
You let the devil claim you for his own.
I've few days left here, I've no heart for war,
I cannot strive and struggle any more,
But hear an old man's words: the heart that's
From gnawing passion and ambitious greed
Looks on kings' treasures and the dust as one;
The man who sells his brother, as you've done,
For this same worthless dust, will never be
Regarded as a child of purity.
The world has seen so many men like you,
And laid them low: there's nothing you can do
But turn to God; take thought then for the way
You travel, since it leads to Judgment Day”
"I am deathless, I am the
For I have spread the seed of the Word.”
*There is an Artist's Union of Tajikistan
(see http://tajikart.com/ or http://theculturetrip.com/asia/tajikistan/)
Also, check out a great photography collection below:
In the Cold: Photographing Tajikistan’s
Tajik Holidays include:
Consolidation Day (June 17, celebrating the Saminid era and the Tajik
state); New Years (Jan. 1st ); traditional New Year’s navruz (March 17th) when
there is held a Zoroastrian feast.
"On this day one must think good thoughts, speak good words, and do good deeds”(http://www.everyculture.com/Sa-Th/Tajikistan.html).
"On holidays and ceremonial occasions, the table is covered with small plates containing delicacies that represent the pride and wealth of the host. Osh usually is served. Sumalak, a dish made from the juice of wheat sprouts, is served during the Islamic New Year. The making of sumalak is a ceremony, as the women recite poetry, sing, and dance.”
Marriage is held as sacred, but polygyny has become
common. Weddings include celebrations with song, dance, and poetry. A woman may
have been betrothed as an infant, or given to a cousin. After 23, she is
considered "unmarketable” for marriage.
80 percent of the population living below the poverty line (Tajikistan), food
"Pork is never eaten. Bread may not be
placed upside down; the crumbs are collected and disposed of ceremoniously. Tea
is served to the host first to show that it is safe to drink. Islamic law
forbids the consumption of alcoholic beverages, but this prohibition often is ignored."