Azerbaijan possesses richest folklore of the East and as well as world. The Azerbaijani literature take sits power from ancient oral Azerbaijani literature.
One of the important branches of the oral folk creation is Garabagh folklore.
In view of big cities Ganja, Barda, Shamkir, Beylaqan in the territory of Garabagh in 1 millennium then one can imagine the majesty of this urban culture and literature and oldness. Likewise everywhere in Azerbaijan the 1st literary examples in Garabagh were created by folk poets and it was reflected in folklore
Although the territory of Garabagh changed from time to time depending on the course of historical events (it expanded and shrank), our historians have proved with ancient sources that the territory of Garabagh included the ancient Aran-Arsaq region – the area from the junction of the Araz and Kura rivers (interfluves) to Fort Khuan, now known as the Red Bridge (including the territory of Borchali district), and stretched to Jermukh on the coast of the Lake Goycha and the Sisakan, Gorus and Mehri-Zangazur Mountain Range. This territory forms both the lowland and highland parts of Garabagh.
Azerbaijan’s Turkic-Oguz folklore has genres that are related purely to Garabagh. As experts in Qorqud compiled an approximate map of the events described in the Dada Qorqud epic, they saw that most of the events described in these sagas actually took place on the territory of Garabagh and some of the place names – toponyms – mentioned in the epic historically existed and still exist in Garabagh. Studies show that Dada Gorgud had close links with Garabagh area.
Types and genres
All genres of oral folklore reflected in the Garabagh people’s creativity, and passed from the generation-to generation being in organic relation to each other, and reached our present days. Either small oral genres, as well as examples of epic and lyrical style reflects the region’s geographical landscape, nature, ancestors, the early life and, faiths, beliefs, customs and traditions of our predecessors.
The signs of faiths, beliefs, sorcery, well prayers, oaths, cheer, curses, entreaties and so on examples of the artistic imagination of the primary community clearly visible in the idea-content characteristics.
From oaths like “Swear to earth”, “Swear to heaven”, “Let me blind if I’m wrong’, “Swear to this water’, “Swear to this running water”, “Swear to this light”, “Swear to abundance”,” Swear to Bread”, “Swear to pir”, “Sweat to land of burial of my mother (my father)”,”Let this light make me blind”, “Swear to salt-bread made with you”, “Swear to my mother’s milk” it is known that in general fire, water, sky, light, bread, mother’s milk were historically considered to be sacred.
The worshipping in Garabagh in four elements – water, fire, earth, air as wishes of our ancestors even today could protect and maintain its semantic essence.
Myths and legends
Like other ethnos, the native people of Garabagh for centuries expressed his attitude to events that occurred during the period in the life with legend and tales. Its themes and content is mainly connected with God, the mysterious man infinity of the universe and man, genesis of existence, comparison of bad and good, evil and good, that all these motives leads to the expression of local and national identity.
It is known that good-evil confrontation is widely expressed in the oral and written literature in general, in Azerbaijan. Also the victory of Good over the Evil served on main idea of word art. In formation and protection of such traditions Garabagh myths and tales have a unique role. It is no coincidence that the Y.V.Chamanzaminli, M.H.Tahmasib, M. Seyidov and others while looking for myth, legend traces in folklore topics had studied also some legends and tales connected with Garabagh.
Garabagh legends, tales can be divided into three groups according to content and the idea:
1) about the magic forces.
2) the nature and the miracle of the events.
3) about human life and fate.
In magic fairy-tales, sorcery, magic, genie, talisman, the mother, azrayu, dragon, ahriman, etc. mythical characters, fantastic images are mentioned, the impression of their cruelty and mercilessness is formed, and shown how pure and innocent people are killed in their hands. Through phoenix bird, water of life, unfading flower, an omnipotent old man etc mythical characters the idea of rescue of men by will of God, keeping side of truth by the Good forces and rescuing the oppressed one even at some coincidence.
In the historical myths of Garabagh the living of big body, tall well-built uzukh (oguz) and living for hundred years, is described. It is narrated that uzukh-oghuz braves were tolerant, restrained, self-possessed, and undefeatable to enemies. It becomes clear that they worshipped to fire, water, mountain, show respect to the air, and called the being created sky, land as “god of the sky and the earth”. In this context, when children in Garabagh zone wrestles they use to say: “I am the son of uzukh, the king of ogres”, “Head of ram, head of sheep” and praise themselves, the “Myth about Oghuz”, “Oguz is a strong man” Bayati-myths and other examples tell about far past of Garabagh region.
It is noted that the history of creation of legends and myths about Oghuz coincides with VII-VIII centuries BC, at time of strong inflow of union of Sak and Scythian tribes from the East to the West. However, the Armenian falsifiers, as well as other hostile forces acting against of ancient history of the lands of Azerbaijan and the Garabagh region, root of Azerbaijani Turkic tribes openly deny the Turkic origin of Sak-Scythian tribes.
Garabagh songs with its highly poetic and aesthetic value and features occupies a special place not only among oral but written examples of our literature, and by reflecting feelings at different rites, meetings and traditions, historical events, and causes a great interest as memory carrier of an ancient Turkish life and culture, and
the Garabagh dialect increases special features, of dialect, intonation and nature beauties.
Latifa (jokes) creativity
Folklore researchers informs about richness of oral literary traditions of Garabagh with joke, funny stories, and the ability of Garabagh people with fine humor senses to use efficient satire at right time and place. Likewise a number of people of Garabagh tolerates many deprivations, could also to laugh at heart, to enjoy and to look critically at negative facts of own time.
In Novruz celebrations, by showing “Kosa-Kosa”, race, gozbaglija, juggler, magician field performances, as well as to tell funny stories and so make people happy from time to time give a special freshness to the folk festivities. Not only jesters, buffoons, jugglers but almost all turn in Novruz festivities as participants of comic games and performances, talked and laughed, make jokes.
Preservation of combination of traditional form and content in the bayati creation of Garabagh act as one of the natural and historical features of folklore environment.
As early as the XVIII century, M.V.Vidadi in word contest with his friend M.P.Vaqif showed that people of Garabagh lives with bayatis that sung softly, with deep melodic tune and content.
It is impossible to imagine oral art of Garabagh outside of Ashiq creativity. In general, Ashiq creativity is a “special” event in Azerbaijan folklore, and besides being a part of folklore, it carries out the significant part of the burden of folklore on its shoulders. In particular, in continuing the traditions of legend (dastan) traditions the ashug creativity plays an indispensable role. Such a close connection
and conformity shows itself in the environment of Garabagh‘s ancient folklore: Garabagh historically was known as ashug-gopuz, and later as the land of ashuq- saz.
It is noted that in Garabagh ashuq creativity was flourished in the XVI-XVIII centuries and that it has a close, deep and aesthetic roots, especially closeness to the sect traditions. For past period ashuq schools were formed here, and many ashugs won the titles of “truth ashug”, “master ashuq”
One of the great master of Garabagh ashuq school is Ashuq Peri. Firidun bey Kocharli wrote that he was clever, a beautiful woman. She gained a great respect at ashuq assemblies. Poets have praised its beauty in own poems.
One of the Ashuqg grown in Garabagh is ashuq Valeh Gulabli. It was proved that he always won in the arena of word contest as a great master of word and saz. As an example his “Valeh and Zarnigar” epos and the fact of winning at old age his rival in Iran.