Armenian Identity

  • by Western Armenia, March 13, 2024 in Society

Hamshenism according to Christian and Muslim Hamshens

In recent years, the communication and cultural connection between Muslim and Christian Armenians has increased.

Christian Hamshen visit both Hopa and Hamshen, and from our region they go to Sukhumi, Sochi, Krosnodar and Moscow and establish contacts with the Christian Hamshensi there. in 2008 The Yerevan concert of the Vova music group in July can probably be considered the first cultural connection. During the concert organized as part of the Hamshen cultural week, we had the opportunity to listen to Hamshen folk dances from Abkhazia.

As experiments have shown, apart from religion, we have the same characteristics from the point of view of culture.

However, for the Muslim Hamshens, Hamshenism has become an identity.

 When people from Hamshens say they are from Hamshens, they are not emphasizing geography, but belonging.

Hamshenism has a function that distinguishes them from other peoples living in the region.

 So why does the Armenian community, after accepting Islam, define itself not as "Muslim Armenian" but as a new identity - Hamshenism?

We can give the answer to this question only after we understand how Armenians perceive Armenian identity and what Armenian identity means in the system of Ottoman nations.

Today we can say that an approach has started to spread, according to which the Armenian identity is not defined in the religious axis, but still the perception of the Armenian identity in the religion is very strong.

Looking at today's situation, I think it is understandable that when Hamshen Armenians converted to Islam, religion was much more influential.

Turning to the perception of the Ottomans, we can say that the same situation should be looked at from the opposite side.

According to the "millet system" used by the Ottomans, each religious society constituted one community, but although all Sunni groups in the Ottoman Empire were considered one millet (Armenians or otherwise), the minorities, i.e. non-Muslims, were divided into different millets, not only according to of their creed and religion groups.

For example, the Armenians did not form a single nation, they were also part of the Catholic nation and the Protestant nation

Until the 19th century, the term millet was never used to describe communities that belonged to the same race, ethnic group, or shared language group.

With the Tanzimat reforms, the term "millet" was first used partially, then completely, to describe peoples.