Bakhtiari have roamed the lands of Persia for thousands of years and are an integral part of its history. They trace their lineage directly from Cyrus the Great. There is another version that they are descendants of the Iranian epic hero Fereydun.
Bakhtiari live between the region of Khuzestan and Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari. They speak a dialect of Persian called Lori and are Shiite Muslims, like the majority of the country's population. Many are nomadic, living in herders' tents, dependent on their flocks of sheep, goats, and cattle. Every year they migrate with their herds between winter pastures on the plains and summer pastures in the mountains. Agricultural produce is mainly supported by trade or as a tax from dependent villages. Some urbanization has taken place among the Bakhtiari as a result of the oil industry.
Nowadays, only a third of the tribe remains nomadic. As many have settled down to become agronomists. Some others were forced to move to cities due to economic hardship and unemployment. Nevertheless, those who continue a nomadic lifestyle undergo one of the most complex and fascinating migration traditions.
Much of the Bakhtiari culture is based on their seasonal migration and the fact that their main source of income is livestock. For example, they eat little meat during the migration period because meat makes them feel heavy and prevents them from moving quickly. Instead, they use milk, yogurt and dough as their main source of nutrients during this period. Even their products contain fur from the animals they care for. The Bakhtiari are known for their black Siah Chador tents, which are waterproof and woven from the wool of their goats.
Bakhtiari have many folk songs for all occasions. Women often sing while working. Even more famous are their rugs, made from sheep's wool, usually with geometric or floral patterns and known for their bright colors.
Women wear long flowing skirts and scarves, usually detailed with stitching, coins or other gold and silver items. Men wear brimless black woolen hats, baggy trousers and a black and white striped coat called Chogha. The ability to sew such clothes, which is passed down from generation to generation, should be preserved as a cultural heritage.
Chogha is woven by women on a horizontal loom and takes about 20 days. The quality of the product depends on the material used for its weaving; it also indicates the status of men in their tribes. All Choghas have similar patterns with white and black stripes. Some believe that these patterns are inspired by the ziggurats of Chogha Zanbil, an ancient Elamite complex in Khuzestan province. Others believe that it is inspired by the prongs of Persepolis, which resemble mountains and valleys. Such teeth can also be seen on the crowns of Iranian kings.
The beautiful dance philosophy of the Bakhtiari people comes from their nomadic origins and lifestyle. The elders of the Bakhtiari clans begin to dance.
The creation of regular and close queues, the coordination of the movements of arms and legs with a regular and pleasant rhythm, indicates a coordinated migration and is a symbol of the movement of nomads who must travel together on difficult and sometimes impassable paths.