Telling tradition of Nasreddin Hodja/ Molla Nesreddin/ Molla Ependi/ Apendi/ Afendi Kozhanasyr Anecdotes


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Inscribed in 2022 (17.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan/National Committee for the Safeguarding ICH of Kazakhstan/National Commission of Kyrgyzstan for UNESCO/TV Safina/Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Tuckey/Gurbnanov Chynar Jumanazarovich/Iqboljon Melikuziev

The Telling Tradition of Nasreddin Anecdotes refers to the social practices and festivals around the telling of anecdotes attributed to Nasreddin, a philosopher and wiseman recognized for his wisdom and humorous analyses and representations of society and life experiences. Although there are slight differences across communities in terms of imagery, character names and stories, the key features are shared as a common heritage in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The anecdotes are transmitted through oral tradition and written sources and have inspired local idioms and proverbs. Many have become classics and are also distributed in printed and visual media and in television programmes prepared for children. Characterized by their wisdom, witty repartees, absurdity and element of surprise, the Nasreddin anecdotes often break with accepted norms, with the narrator finding unexpected ways out of complicated situations and always coming out as the winner by the power of word. The anecdotes have an instructive and entertaining function, and communities use them to enrich conversations, reinforce arguments, persuade others or explain a situation. Municipalities, universities and non-governmental organizations play a vital role in the transmission of the anecdotes, organizing various activities and festivals for their commemoration at local, national and international levels.