On The Road

Occasional ramblings from a rambling journalist


A glorious day of sunshine means that summer is about to grace the UK once more… maybe. One never can tell on these isles. Anyway at least the three intrepid family kayakers can return to the water – even if wet suits are a necessity.

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  • Filed under: Events
  • A hidden religion


    It must be hidden – there’s not even a wikipedia entry for it. It’s called “Kakayee”, a small Kurdish religion that has existed in hiding for centuries. I stumbled across them during my time in Erbil, where a community of adherents live to the west of the city.

    The reason for the secrecy, Kakayees say, is the expansion of other religions during the history of mankind. They claim that theirs was the first faith that spread the worship of God and that all others came later.

    With thousands of families living in different parts of Iraqi Kurdistan and also in Iran, the believers of Kakayee, who can be recognised by their long moustaches, worship in private. What is interesting though, like Ismaelis (an Islamic sect), they want to be recognised as Muslim, not Kakayees. Perhaps that’s for security reasons though, as a minority they could quite easily be persecuted. Across the border, in Iran, Kakayee, or ‘Ahle Haq’ as it is known there, is recognised as a separate religion.

    Unlike in Islam, however, the Kakayees don’t have a temple and they don’t have a regular time to pray, but rather gather in homes. They also love music, regarding it as sacred. According to their stories, when Adam was first created, his spirit was in unrest, but he found comfort in music. The tambour is the instrument most commonly used in worship.

    The Kakayees’ religious language is Hawrami, which is one of the Kurdish dialects. The word itself is from a Kurdish root word, ‘kaka’ which means ‘mister’ or ‘sir’ and even now its common to call Kurdish men ‘kaka’ out of courtesy.

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  • Filed under: Jon's Journeys