Khidir Alyas_ young boys and girls keep themselves thirst at night during the feast day
The Yazidi have started fasting for the Khidir Alyas feast. The fast will last for three days. Hunting is forbidden over these three days because Khidir Alyas, an important Yazidi religious figure who was fond of hunting, stopped for these days and ate only vegetables.
Loqman Sulaiman, a Yazidi activist, explained the festival. The Yazidi put a vessel containing flour in a high place in the house, he tells us. Then, if the householders see some traces in the flour in the morning, this indicates that Khidir Alyas has passed by their house, blessing it.
Sulaiman also mentions some similarities between the Yazidi feast and other religions which also pay homage to Khidir Alyas.
Many young Yazidi men and women neither drink nor sleep on the night of the feast, since keeping themselves thirst will lead them to drink in another house-if a boy drinks water in another house, he will marry a daughter of that house and vice versa. There is a tradition that Khidir Alyas makes these young people’s wishes come true.
On the days of fasting, the Yazidi mix wheat, sunflower seeds, corn and take it to the mill to be ground into a special flour the Yazidi call pekhon in Kurdish. Pekhon means ‘without blood’ and indicates their tolerance and the sense of peace and forgiveness they fell for other religions. Some houses mix pekhon with molasses, mould the mixture into different shapes and give it to the children.
Majid Esa, a Yazidi young man, expressed his happiness at the upcoming feast and fast: “This feast strengthens the already strong ties among Yazidis and teaches us a sense of forgiveness and peace. The Yazidi do not wash before this feast, because it weakens our sense of hearing, and every Yazidi has to cut a lock of hair and plant trees to make the ground green in this month”.
On the day of the feast, the Yazidi distribute food-and specially meat—to their neighbors as well as congratulating each other on the coming of the feast.