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The present article deals with two legitimising elements to be found in the Turkic epic cycle Edige. According to oral tradition Edige’s genealogy goes back to Angšïbay who married a heavenly swan girl thus laying foundation to the Manghit clan. But in the same oral tradition Edige’s forefather is identified with a Muslim saint ( walī or awliyā ) called Baba Tükles. The article tries to analyse the process of linking the Muslim tradition of Baba Tükles, who in written sources appears as the Islamiser of the Golden Horde, to a pre-Islamic tradition about the superiority of a clan originating form a heavenly swan girl. Similarly to folklore and oral tradition, modern religious traditions also display the elements of Islamised folk belief and Central Asian Muslim (e.g. Sufi) traditions, where worshiping ancestor spirits is often intermingled with the respect for Muslim saints who were Islamisers or Sufi practitioners. Some historical and ethnographical data are presented to elucidate the parallel processes that took place in folklore and religious traditions.

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After the formation of the Chagatay and Jochi Uluses the local Mongol nobility was converted to Islam and assimilated by the local Kirghiz and Kipchak Turkic nomads. When these Uluses were disintegrated into smaller hordes (Özbeg, Nogay, Kazak, Kirghiz, etc.), the Turkic-speaking Muslim nobility ruled the newly-formed new nomadic states. The epic tradition of these nomads underwent fundamental changes, and the heroes of the epic songs became the historical or legendary founders of the tribes. When the Oirat Mongols and Jungars attacked their territories during in 16th–18th centuries the Buddhist Oirats became the major enemies of the Muslim Turks who called them Kalmak . But the meaning of Kalmak is broader in the epic tradition of these Turkic peoples: it can mean Non-Muslim or enemy of all kind. The present article analyses the historical and cultural background of the word Kalmak in written and oral sources.

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One of the modernization conflicts of Kyrgyz and Kazak society is discussed in this article. It is the conflict between traditional religious activities, post-Soviet Islamic revival and fundamentalism. The Islamization process in Central Asia started during the Mongol Era (13th–16th centuries). The nomadic population was also influenced by Sufitradition in Central Asia that goes back to the 12th century, but it was labeled as shamanism during Soviet times. After the democratic changes and the declaration of religious freedom, some elements of this 1000-year-old tradition have been revived or revitalized. But the so-called official Islam, sponsored by Arabic states, has turned against the popular version of Islam by using the Soviet label of shamanic tradition. In reality, people practicing these traditions are devoted Muslims, they consider them to be pure Islamic traditions. But nationalist or ethnic religious movements, as well as urban esoteric practices, also incorporate elements of this tradition to legitimize their activities. This creates a very complex situation and a growing hostility between fundamentalist and traditional religious groups.

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Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
Authors: Katalin VARGHA, István KINDA, Éva DEMETER, András SIMON, László MÓD, Dániel BÁRTH, Vilmos VOIGT, Ildikó KRÍZA, Dóra CSISZÉR, Mária BIHAR KEPE, and Dávid SOMFAI KARA

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