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

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.

At the 17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, from November 28 – December 3, 2022, Telling Tradition of Nasreddin Anecdotes was included on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Türkiye, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan joined the nomination.