On the mythological roots of rabbit belief in alevi bektashi culture Alevilik bektaşilikteki tavşan inancinin mitolojik kökenleri üzerine

Ergun P.

Turk Kulturu ve Haci Bektas Veli - Arastirma Dergisi, vol.60, pp.281-312, 2011 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 60
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Journal Name: Turk Kulturu ve Haci Bektas Veli - Arastirma Dergisi
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.281-312
  • Keywords: Alevi-bektashi, Ayisit, Kam, Rabbits substance, Turkish mythology, Umay
  • Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University Affiliated: No


In this article, the mythological past of rabbit taboo in Turkish culture specifically in Alevi Bektashi culture will be evaluated and the parallelisms in the history of Turkish culture and geography will be analyzed with comparative descriptive analysis method. Rabbit taboo in Alevi Bektashi culture and the reasons of this belief have given some clues about the rabbit in Turkish mythical thought. Reasons put forward, the former being adapted to the new religion is nothing more than beliefs. The legend imputed to Satuk Buǧra Han, the new and the old beliefs in religion and the triumph of the rabbit seems to be the first collision. Throughout history, rabbit motif has been seen in the scepters of Sultans and the decorations of some mosques of the first period of Turkish architecture. Today, the place of rabbit in Turkish mythological thought is about to be forgotten. The mythological aspects of rabbit in Turkish mythology have seen in many examples. For instance Twelve-Animal Turkish Calendar includes rabbit, some Turkish clan thought gives sacred meaning to rabbits as a keeper of the family. Rabbit has also important place while stopping the war in Scythians, struggling the bad evils, going hunting, and giving birth to the child. Rabbit has seen also in Er Sogotoh epic which is about the first human being that God created and the other mythological epics. Moreover, it is also believed that rabbit protect children and woman from bad things with Umay and Ayisit. The transformation motif related to rabbit is also very widespread in Turkish World. This shows that Alevi Bektashi tradition has more close relations with Turkish World. Sometimes this proximity transforms contrasts. Tail, head, feet, claws, fur, ears, chest bone and nose of rabbit has some special roles in rituals. Possessors who are responsible for child, fertility, rain, fire (Umay, Yajil-Kan, Bulut-Kan, Dyaik/Cayik, Ot/Ateş Ene, Ayisit, Ermen-Kan) and the first ancestor Hozan/Kozan/are symbolized with rabbit. So in the old rituals which performed by the cams and the hunters that combat disease and evil spirits, the women who cook their meals, and midwives, the traces of old beliefs are chosen more clearly. In this kind of rituals, rabbit takes place both as an object (tambourines, mallets, fans, jewelry, plume, etc.) and also as holy words. Rabbit as a symbol of holy souls izih / sacrifice is offered. Rabbit symbolize the place of God with its white color and also is very suitable world-water symbol because it lives in underground and surface.