“Il” refers to a group of people who have blood relation or social-political affiliation, and inhabit their own geographical area. They are mostly shepherds who do seasonal transhumance between summer & winter pastures to find grass for their animals. In Persian language, such movements in search of grasslands is called ‘Kuch’. Therefore, a nomadic lifestyle has nothing to do with luxury. Their simple life includes the necessary things they need to have. They carry no extra stuff since it makes their kuch hard. Nomads of Iran can be classified into 8 groups. Here in this article, 4 main Iran Nomad Tribes are discussed: Kurdish Tribes, Lur Tribes, Shahsevan Tribes, Qashqaie Tribes, Baloch Tribes, Khamseh Tribes, Turkmen Tribes, Arab Tribes.
The word ‘Kurd’ refers to a nomad or a person who wanders in deserts. But linguistically, it refers to a courageous hero. Ferdowsi, in his Shahnameh (Book of Kings) which is the world’s longest epic poem, has taled about the Kurds. That’s why Kurd people have great respect for Shahnameh. Kurds are all Muslims from different branches; Shiite and Sunni and mystical sects like Qadiriyyah and Nashnabidiyeh. Kurdish dialect is one of the main dialects of the Persian language which consists of some sub-dialects such as Kormanji, Sourani, Laki, etc.
Kurd people inhabit the western part of Iran; they mostly live in the north of West Azerbaijan Province, Kurdistan & Kermanshah region and some parts of Ilam. There are also groups of Kurd people in Razavi & North Khorasan. In Safavid and then in Afsharie era, these people were forced to migrate from the west of Lake Urmia to the north part of Khorasan in order to defeat the enemies’ schemes and to prevent their coalition.
The next group of nomads of iran we are going to talk about is the Lur. There are some ideas regarding the word “Lur”:
The Lurs mostly live in Mt. Zagros and they are of two main groups:
Small Lur: Lorestan & Ilam
Great Lur: great Bakhtiari Lur (north of Khuzestan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Isfahan & Fars) & Mamasani Lur (Shoolestan) – Lurs of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad.
From among the above-mentioned tribes, Bakhtiari Nomads are the biggest tribe doing a seasonal migration (Kuch).
The Lurs are Shia Muslims and speak Lurish dialect of Persian language.
Lur people have great respect for Nowruz ceremonies. They not only clean the houses before Nowruz but also go to the cemeteries the night before to honor the dead and ask God for forgiveness.
There is a Lorish dance called ‘Choobi’ in which men & women stand hand in hand in a circle and dance around the so-called circle. There is a person in front of the others with a handkerchief directing the others. He is called ‘Sarchoobi’.
Another nomads of iran is the Shahsevan, The word ‘Shahsavan’ is made of two words; a Persian word: Shah (= king), and a Turkish word: Sevan meaning those who admire their kings. And the reason goes back to the reign of King Abbas Safavi.
Shahseven tribe is a Turk tribe who inhabit the northwest of Iran and they are all Shia Muslims.
Ernst Emil Herzfeld, a German archaeologist, and Iranologist believes the name “Baluch” comes from the “BRAZAWACCHIA” meaning a loud cry. But there is another group who believes ‘Balooch’ is derived from ‘pahal’, meaning pahlavan (= athlete), and ‘ouj’, meaning high, and it means a tall athlete.
Balouch is another nomads of Iran who mostly live in the east & southeast of Iran in Sistan & Balouchestan which is the largest province. The northern part is of the province is called Sistan, and the southern part is Balouchestan. Balouchi people are Muslims, and in the southern parts they are mostly Sunni who speak a dialect of Persian language called ‘Makourani’. But in the northern parts, they are Shtti speaking ‘Sarhaddi’ dialect.
Balouchi nomads call their black tents ‘Gedam’.
They have also another type of housings made of palm trees. They are crescent-shaped houses and on the roof, they are covered with palms & wild palms leave calling ‘Loog’.
‘Gerdtoop’ is one of the most beautiful Baloochi houses, but the only difference is that Gerdtoops are Balouchies’ fixed housings. They are muddy structures made in a circle having date’s leaves & branches as a roof, which is really good insulation against the heat of the area.