Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Lettuce = Pubic Hair (?) 

Explananda has a link to this site, where one can learn a little (not enough!) about the Yezidis and their prohibition on eating lettuce, along with some somewhat-suspect speculation that links this dietary practice to a Sumerian poem using lettuce imagery to refer to naughty bits. [This site, by the way, explains that the actual reason for the prohibition is that the word "lettuce" in Kurdish sounds like the Arabic word meaning "to pelt with stones."]

As it turns out, despite their out-of-the-mainstream beliefs and small numbers, the Yazidis are actually quite important in today's Iraq. During Saddam Hussein's campaign to arabize Kurdish Northern Iraq, his government reclassified the Yazidis as Arabs: as part of their effort to de-arabize Northern Iraq, some Kurdish groups are now trying to get the Yazidis to be counted as Kurds.

If you're interested in the Yazidis and their other unusual religious practices (no wearing of dark blue, possibly-Mithraic bull sacrifice, etc), check out this site or this one (or here if you speak German and will translate it for me).

UPDATE: This news article actually gives a very different account of the Kurds-or-Arabs classification battle. I don't know enough to say which is correct.

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