Ay Dede, Where Is Your House?: The Gender of the Moon in Narratives and Folk Beliefs


MILLI FOLKLOR, no.120, pp.198-211, 2018 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 120
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.198-211
  • Yozgat Bozok University Affiliated: Yes


Primitive humans recognized the law on the periodic change of the celestial bodies by instinct. Since ancient times, the sky has been one of the spaces in which humanity finds various explanations for unexplained events. Closely associated with astronomy, meteorology, agriculture and the medical sciences, the importance of the moon cult has been acknowledged since primeval times. With its eclipses, its appearance at night, its gravity and influence on the natural life cycle, as well as on time and calendar cycles, it has always attracted the interest of humankind. From crescent to full moon, the moon is constantly "renewed" and "refreshed". This renewal resembles "rebirth" and ensures a cycle. It is also known that among the attributes of the moon cult in Turkish legends and myths are the symbols of protectiveness, virginity, insemination, healing and abundance. In addition to these, the moon is conceived as a man or woman, developing rituals according to this belief and even creating rhymes, are other aspects of effect of the moon cult on humanity. Ranging from the spots on the lunar surface to personification, the moon has become the protagonist of many beliefs and rituals. In this study, the moon cult has initially been traced back through the texts of legends and myths, such as Oghuz Khan and Manas, using Uyghur script. Then in order to examine the moon cult of Prof. Dr. Georges Dumezil, a review has been made of several texts that have been compiled from various regions of Anatolia. In both written and oral cultural settings, attributions of the moon, including its gender, abundance, wealth, life cycle, resurrection and healing have been studied and the importance of gender has been discussed, taking into consideration the manifestation of its sanctity. It has been observed that the moon cult is sometimes conceived as male, sometimes female, and in some places both female and male. In the study, the importance of the moon in human thought has been addressed, taking into consideration written texts and oral culture compilations, rather than listing its attributes individually.